Tag Archives: ~drift partner

Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Agents of SHIELD season 4

23 May

Bullet-pointed for… something.

  • So, Daisy’s arc sort of got shoved to the side for most of this season, which. Alright. But she did have some great scenes with Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna), including the scene where they fight and she begs him to kill her (the spirit refuses, as it only kills those who have done things worthy of punishment). Daisy and Robbie had great chemistry together, and watching them work together in the season finale was a real treat. She also (along with Jemma [Elizabeth Henstridge]) was spared the uploading into the Framework (more on this in a minute), and together they worked to break everyone out. Some jackass decided Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) should come back in the Framework, and though she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with Ward anymore, the one misstep in her character development was when she said something OOC about how she “didn’t fully understand” the real Ward. Frustrating, but my only huge issue with her this season. They’re heading towards making her director of SHIELD, which I really hope is how the show ends.
  • Ultimately the main antagonist of this season was AIDA/Madame Hydra (Mallory Jansen). Yeah, it threw me for a loop when they announced that she’d be taking that role on in the Framework, but ultimately it made sense (more on this in a minute) and damn if Mallory Jansen is not just the most fun to watch. Over the course of the season she goes from being an amiable, if sometimes unnerving, android created by Radcliffe (John Hannah) for the purpose of protecting and defending agents (allegedly), so in effect a bulletproof lab assistant, to a thoroughly deranged character in the Framework, to a gosh darn real girl with all sorts of anger issues and raging hormones for Fitz. Who’s also got, thanks to the Framework and the Darkhold and other sinister things, most of the superpowers we’ve seen now-gone characters on the show have. She also adopts the name “Ophelia,” which I read too much into like a smarty, and turns on her creator for “demeaning” her by treating her like a robot. There kept being interesting little threads of possibility with her, some of which were followed through on and some of which were too damn meta for a television show to touch, but the true joy of this arc is Mallory Jansen’s performance. Part of me misses the bulletproof lab assistant because robot girls are fun, but also, AIDA was the most delightful antagonist we’ve seen thus far and also contributed to the undoing of… well.
  • Leopold James Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – James, because there weren’t already twenty of those in the MCU – is on a downward trajectory. That’s putting it mildly. The beginning of the season saw Fitz lying to everyone and helping Radcliffe to build and program AIDA, despite a two-minute flash of conscience in the season premiere where he pointed out that after things like, y’know, Ultron, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea for a criminal scientist already in hot water to build a freaking robot. But all it took was a calm, pleasant explanation from AIDA and suddenly he was all aboard the robot train. As the season develops, he does such super-awesome things as guilt Daisy about her running away from SHIELD, expect his girlfriend Jemma to shoulder the burden of all of his emotional problems, save the decapitated head of the first AIDA model despite everyone including Jemma saying to destroy it but he thinks he can do something to help… and then in the Framework, he’s a sadistic torturing Nazi who happens to be fucking the same robot he’s gotten into so much trouble with already, but it’s okay because there she’s real, and using Darkhold tech he makes her a real body, which I don’t think I have to explain is the worst possible idea.
  • The Framework, as designed by Radcliffe and implemented by AIDA (the degree to which the design was modified by AIDA is somewhat unclear), was based on the premise that everyone whose consciousnesses were originally plugged in deserved to live in a nice happy digital computer world where their greatest regret was taken away. Or what Radcliffe perceived as their greatest regret. Some of these were totally reasonable – May (Ming-Na Wen) still regretting Bahrain, Mack (Henry Simmons) regretting that his daughter didn’t live past infancy, Mace (Jason O’Mara) regretting that he lied about being an Inhuman – and some were… something else. Coulson (Clark Gregg) regretted not living a “normal life” (since when was this a thing of his? Since about the episode before the Framework was revealed) and Fitz regretted… not growing up with his father. These daddy issues entered into play this season as well, and I’d previously been under the impression that he was content to have grown up with his mother, especially since according to exposition from Jemma his father was at the very least verbally abusive, but apparently not. And apparently growing up and remaining very close with his father, a class-A douchebag, led to Fitz… being a sadistic torturing Nazi. One who was nicknamed “the Doctor” no less, because that’s totally not sinister in this context. “I’m just like Ward,” he said after exiting the Framework, reflecting on the situation. Yes, yes you are, my ex-buddy, and here is why: not only did his daddy issues then shape the entire Framework into a totalitarian fascist hellscape where Inhumans were hunted and SHIELD, having been successfully taken over by Hydra, was a scrappy band of underground resistance fighters, but he…
    • Tortured (avatars of) Inhumans, several of which he later realized he’d known IRL.
    • Shot Agnes, who was the RL woman Sandwiches had modeled AIDA’s likeness on and whose consciousness and life, after she passed away IRL from a brain tumor, was uploaded to the Framework – ergo, he killed a woman.
    • Tortured Daisy, which didn’t actually harm Daisy’s RL body but if he had killed her it would in fact kill RL her because if your consciousness was plugged into the Framework if you died there you died IRL, so that was a near miss.
    • Ordered an op that ultimately killed Jeffrey Mace.
    • (As mentioned) plotted to build and then did build tech using the Darkhold, the spoopiest book of all time, to create an actual human body in the real world that would also be endowed with superpowers from all the Inhumans he’d tortured to death, so she could in effect take over the world that had done her wrong. (Even now I’m not entirely clear on how much of what ~Ophelia did in the Framework was actually AIDA and how much was a program, but either way – not great.)
    • After Jemma shot (the avatar of) his father in self-defense after trying to get him to cooperate with their goal of rescuing everyone from the Framework, Fitz tracked Jemma down and despite her screaming that IRL they were together and blah blah love blah blah he shot her (avatar) in the leg and very nearly shot her in the head and killed her. Would have likely done had Radcliffe’s avatar not intervened.
    • Oh, and I forgot to mention: while Daisy had been doing the non-terrigenesis’d totalitarian equivalent of what she does now in the Framework, Jemma was literally dead to begin with. When she awoke in the Framework she clawed her way out of a shallow mass grave. In the Framework, she and Fitz had never known each other. Despite the way that a robot version of Fitz tried to consentingly lure Jemma into the Framework with promises of happiness and marriage.
    • And the real kicker of this is: while the other people plugged into the Framework had grand revelations that either it was not a real place (Coulson) or their actions there were bad (May) or some other knowing moment of oh, shit… Fitz did not. Multiple times Fitz was given a chance to go oh, shit and repent. He did not. Also, several other characters had moments of ~knowing each other~ from RL contexts despite not knowing each other (Coulson remembered Daisy, May remembered Coulson, there was an implied flash of deja vu between Mack and Elena [Natalia Cordova-Buckley]) but Fitz looked Jemma in the eye and said that she meant nothing to him.
  • Ask us about our anti-Fitz feminist agendas.
  • In happier news, there were very good moments for the other members of the team! Coulson was a giant nerd in the Framework, which was sort of endearing; Trip (B.J. Britt) was still alive in the Framework and I miss him already; despite being the first to be replaced with a robot and hooked into the Framework, May still kicked some ass and was good; Mack and Elena are actually completely adorable together even though we all thought Mack was probably gay and we can’t even be mad that he too got roped into heterosexuality because they’re actually wonderful together; Mack was adorable and tragic with his daughter Hope (Jordan Rivera) in the Framework, even though they named her Hope when there’s already two different other Hopes in the MCU; Elena and Agent Piper (Briana Venskus) were precious and capable protecting Jemma and Daisy while they were in the Framework; Jemma my beloved was forced to sit through a lot of compulsive heterosexuality but nonetheless she was strong and badass and very good at what she needed to do.
  • But romantic FitzSimmons is dead. It needs to be dead. It needed to be dead before it even began, but it especially needs to be dead now. If any time is expended on any of the women, but especially Jemma, assuaging Fitz’s guilt complex next season, I will scream. He deserves to be guilty because he Did A Bad and while he seems perfectly capable of admitting IRL that he Did A Bad and that he was responsible for AIDA’s less than stellar changes, he never once said “I’m sorry.” He did say “I think I’m a bad person” and that’s pretty accurate. Sorry, ex-buddy.
  • The finale ended with everybody being arrested in a diner because everyone thinks SHIELD are bad guys again. And then it flashed forward an indeterminate amount of time to show Coulson on what appeared to be a spaceship, looking out at the vastness of space before getting up and “getting to work” in what seemed to be some kind of prison. I’ve seen buzz that this is leading up to SWORD, basically the intergalactic version of SHIELD, but nobody’s confirmed that one way or the other. We also have no idea if what Coulson is seeing is actually real or if he’s been put back into some kind of virtual reality or simulation to serve his punishment in. And we don’t know where anyone else is either. (We have awhile to think about it, since the show won’t be back until January 2018. Because ABC and Marvel are still trying to make Inhumans happen. It’s not going to happen.)

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

6 May

So, here’s the thing about James Gunn as a filmmaker. James Gunn really likes several things: music, explosions, sexy women, over-the-top violence and/or gore, and jokes. I like all of those things, sometimes, in some contexts. The problem is that James Gunn likes them all the time, even when the plot would perhaps be better served by focusing on something else. And that’s kind of my problem with both Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

This one is…about what I expected. It’s about Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) coming to terms with his long-buried daddy issues, but it’s also trying to be a story about found family, but it’s also trying to be a story about assholes who turn out to be jerks with hearts of gold, but it’s also trying to be a story about forgiveness and redemption, but it’s also a story about shitty people who kind of dislike each other coming together and admitting they all love each other anyway because they’re a family. Oh and it’s also a comedy, and it’s also a movie where hundreds of people die horrifically onscreen. Yeah.

And there are parts of it that are great! There are. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) is absolutely wonderful and the bits with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are heartwrenching; the soundtrack is a lot of fun and space sure is pretty. There are some funny jokes. Ego (Kurt Russell) was a well-acted, if terrifying, villain and also at one point a glowy octopus. It’s… fine. It’s what it is. But it’s also got the aforementioned horrific deaths, a narratively underutilized planet of gold and crazy eugenicist people, a damn raccoon who needed to not, way too many moments devoted to relishing the surprise manpain of men whose pain probably wasn’t actually necessary to the story and usually involved daddies, and the actual canonical use of the word “daddy.” So it’s a mixed bag.

Mantis is Ego’s adopted indentured servant (it makes sense in context), having been found in infancy and raised by him. (This continues the theme of this subfranchise’s women being unnervingly characterized by the men who controlled and abused them. This is true of Nebula and Gamora, of course, and this is true of my poor beloved pink rageball Carina [Ophelia Lovibond], whose rebellion against her – let’s not mince words – captor killed her spectacularly. It’s an uncomfortable trend, although Carina is its only complete casualty so far.) She is charmingly ignorant in regards to social interactions (similarly to Drax [Dave Bautista]) and wants very badly to make friends and please people. She is an empath, who can pick up on others’ emotions by touch and share emotions with them, as well as ease the pain of others and send them to sleep. Because she’s been so isolated, she believes everything she’s told without question. This could easily have gone several horrifying directions, but fortunately the movie didn’t do that. Her arc in this movie is about learning what love and friendship are, and how to stand up to her master and help her new friends defeat him. She even gets a heroic moment at the end where she has to use her powers against her master for the first time ever. She and Drax bond and by the end have become close friends – luckily the film heads off any romantic subplot with them right away. He finds her physically repulsive, and she agrees – “I don’t even like the type of thing that you are!” (We, naturally, took this to mean she’s gay.)

Gamora, in the film’s opening scene, has clearly become comfortable with both her role as a Guardian and her teammates. She’s sarcastic but she clearly gives a shit, and indeed she’s still (surprise) the more capable fighter in many regards. She’s practical. She’s kickass. She gets straight to the point in dealing with the High Priestess of the Sovereign (Elizabeth Debicki), who are those creepy gold people we’re going to talk about in a minute. She’s honestly the only thing that’s keeping these idiots together, which would be – not charming, exactly, but fine, if it wasn’t so clearly just the woman carrying the emotional burden of everyone. She rolls her eyes so much that someone’s mother from the 1960s probably shouted, spiritually, about them getting stuck that way. And she’s back in the company of her adopted sister Nebula, looking to collect a bounty on her head (allegedly – I don’t know what they actually intended to imply but in my emotionally optimistic read there is at least a part of Gamora that had no such intention, having never given up on Nebula). Nebula in this movie is maybe even more angry than she was in the first movie, if that’s possible. They did give her slightly more motivation and a better arc this time, though, as it explains that as children Thanos used to make them fight each other, and every time Gamora beat her Thanos would remove a part of Nebula’s body and replace it with robotics to “make her better.” At one point she screams at Gamora “I just wanted a sister!” The scene where they talk about this is really lovely, tragic and full of pathos. (Unfortunately it’s spoiled by a quick cut to another fight scene.) I wanted more scenes with the two of them, but I’m happy with what we got. I hope my suspicion about Nebula’s fate in future movies isn’t correct, because I want them to be able to be happy and safe together.

Kurt Russell’s Ego is equal parts ridiculously cheesy and horrifying. He gives the character a nice air of menace that manages to carry it through the silliest moments (including one where his planet-self grows a face and begins to talk). Some of the effects were really iffy, especially once where he rebuilds his human body and we see each layer of muscle, bone, and so forth growing. I think this was supposed to be scary, and it is unnerving, but the CGI looks like mid-2000s SyFy Channel Movie nonsense, and also he is a walking talking skeleton at one point and that is just absurd. Or, in its glowing blue space light form, his body resembles our old friend the Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, only blue instead of red, which means that I was incapable of taking it seriously. But the character… well, when he’s not working that charismatic asshole vibe of his (I’m biased; my first real exposure to the man was Death Proof and I can never unsee that) he manages to hit a lot of really awful buttons. A thesis of the MCU seems to be, by and large, that dads are bad. This is not to say that daddy issues are something I want to watch a movie about ever again, because they’re not, but daddy issues are only a part of the problem. Daddy issues are on the part of the child relating to the dad; most MCU dads (with the notable exceptions of Mike Peterson [J. August Richards] and Framework!Mack [Henry Simmons] in Agents of SHIELD) are bad at relating not only to their child(ren) but to the other people around them, as well as their environments. Ego takes that to the next level, and let me just say that his name is not a coincidence (of course it’s not, because there is no subtlety in these names).

The Sovereign is a planet and also a race of people. They are, as I mentioned, gold. Their hair is gold, their skin is gold, their eyes are gold, their clothing is at least somewhat gold, a lot of their surroundings are gold. They are also, by the admission of their High Priestess, carefully engineered for perfection and specific purposes from their conceptions, which are artificial and seem absolutely terrifying. Hence, eugenics. They’re frightful snobs and much is made of this; they don’t take well to loss or slights. Why? Because they’re frightful snobs, I guess. My disappointment here is that I could very easily see how Elizabeth Debicki could be an absolute delight as a shiny space villainess, because there were moments of very good crazy in her eyes, but her function in the plot was weirdly tertiary; my horror here is, well, eugenics.

Rocket continues to be irritating. I do not understand why he is the mascot of this franchise.

Also, Gunn has a weird relationship with death, which is to say that he seems to think gratuitous, horrifying death is funny? Like, there’s an extended sequence of Ravagers putting one of their own out an airlock and then the camera pans out and you see a trail of bodies behind that one, maybe thirty or forty people, and you definitely watch that one guy as he freezes to death in space, and it’s just really unpleasant. Then immediately after this Rocket starts making fun of a guy called Taserface. There is also a scene where Yondu (Michael Rooker) uses his arrow that responds to whistling to murder everyone who mutinied against him, which I think was meant to be funny? The song playing is certainly upbeat. But I did not enjoy it at all. This movie probably has the highest onscreen body count in the MCU and most of it was just played like a joke, and that made me uneasy.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on The Fate of the Furious

16 Apr

All y’all know Furious 7 was my first watched of the franchise, and this eighth installment was drift partner’s first. But when we saw a trailer that included Charlize Theron dramatically intoning “There’s thousands of cars in this city and now they’re all mine” we knew we had to go. Opening weekend. To a theater where we could purchase alcohol to consume while we were watching.

And boy howdy, were we not disappointed. This movie, like its predecessor(s?), is incredibly stupid but in the most delicious way. I was trying to give drift partner what little background I could beforehand and the best I could do was a couple of anecdotes and character facts followed by “they’re like the Suicide Squad but of cars.” And, obviously, much better than the actual cinematic Suicide Squad.

I, drift partner, had sort of idly been intending to see these movies based on recommendations from friends, but this trailer dangled the idea of crazy Charlize AND ridiculous car chases in front of me and I am powerless when presented with crazy Charlize. I will watch crazy Charlize Theron do basically anything. I knew I was in for a treat when the first scene of this movie involved Vin Diesel stripping off the doors and trunk of a VW Bug in order to soup up the engine for a race, in such a way that it made it literally LIGHT ON FIRE at one point. I am not a car person, I have no idea what he did, but it was glorious. And then when he won the race, his opponent tried to give Vin Diesel his car, as per their agreement, and said Vin had his respect. Vin Diesel said, “Keep your car. Your respect is good enough for me.” It was so ridiculous and batshit and I loved it. I don’t think I stopped smiling for longer than about two minutes.

Here’s the thing that we’ve come to realize, that has doubtless been realized by many before us. In effect, these movies are the goofy action stupidity with a heart of gold. As they said probably no less than one hundred times, they’re about family. (The trailer alone says this word enough that if you were doing strong enough shots every time they said it – which we intend to do sometime with all of the movies, although with sips rather than shots – you could be blitzed by its conclusion.) It’s this big, ridiculous found family full of characters capable of kicking anyone’s ass any day who all work together out of their continued love for each other. Never mind that most of them have criminal pasts while Hobbs (The Rock) is FBI and Brian (Paul Walker), who obviously isn’t in this film although they didn’t kill him off they just said “we can’t bring Brian into this we promised we wouldn’t” and left it at that, has been an undercover agent as well. Never mind their different backgrounds, or the fact that Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) isn’t even a car person but a hacker, or anything. They’re family. That’s all there is to it.

Naturally this means that the conflict of the film is a question of that. Charlize Theron’s Cipher, a hacker thought to be, even by Ramsey, a conglomerate, blackmails Vin Diesel’s Dom to work for her. Why? Well, this is kind of revealed, sort of, eventually, in a casual recontextualizing of past movie plot points. He upsets his family by doing this, which Hobbs describes very gravely as him having “gone rogue,” and they spend the rest of the movie working against Cipher’s evil plan while also sort of trying to get Dom back to the side of good.

There are a lot of perfectly golden moments in this movie, but some just have to be seen to be believed. Some we feel comfortable alluding to are:

  • Somebody is shielded from an enormous explosion by a protective circle of cars.
  • At one point, a car is drawn and quartered.
  • As if in answer to the cars coming out of the moving airplane in the last film, a car goes into a moving airplane.
  • Helen Mirren is Jason Statham’s mother.
  • Ramsey spends virtually all of her non-hacking/non-plot-forwarding time rolling her eyes at machismo bullshit and/or flirtatious comeons. Also, she wears a vest.
  • Jason Statham plays the Chipmunks Christmas album for a baby to drown out the noise of him fighting bad guys.
  • Hobbs’ daughter’s soccer team, which he coaches, performs the haka before their game.
  • Someone drives a tank. Literally a tank.
  • Someone uses a car door as a shield and a sled, at different points.
  • Someone jumps over a submarine in a car. Yes, a submarine.
  • The Rock weightlifts a concrete bench and uses a concrete wall as a punching bag.
  • Much like he removed a cast on his arm by flexing his muscles in the last movie, he removes handcuffs the same way in this movie.
  • Charlize Theron speaks entirely in cliches, and makes lines that are not naturally menacing sound vaguely menacing.
  • As seen in the trailer, Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty literally shouts at Dom “are you gonna turn your back on family?” and… then he literally turns his back on his family and exits.

Drift partner just classified this franchise as “chaotic good.” Yes, exactly.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Whimsy Wednesday :: in which what. (And also kinkshaming.)

29 Mar

“You want the Earth? YOU’LL HAVE TO GO THROUGH ME!”

Now everyone is standing around befuddled, wondering where Usagi is, and Tuxedo Mask’s hands are glowing and he just went poof???

Inside the Crystal Palace, Neo Queen Serenity awakes and goes to the comatose body of her husband, kissing him and making his illusory self also vanish from the outside. “Someone’s… coming out,” Sailor Mars says. “It’s Neo Queen Serenity!” “Mommy!”

“It’s not your fault. You did make a few mistakes, however, you have learned from them and grown as a person.” At which point Neo Queen Serenity asks her daughter to join her as a guardian…

“My dear Pluto. From this day forward, you will rest in peace, forever enshrined in the Crystal Palace.” Um, this feels like it’s going to get severely in the way of later seasons.

“You and you alone are capable of finding Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask” way to put pressure on the child.

Now Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon are floating through space in a bubble

“This planet, my host body, will be your GRAVES!”

This is so fucking overdramatic Jesus

She’s going through an existential crisis holy shit

“I’ve never been able to use the crystal’s full power unless you were nearby!”

“We’re more than soulmates! You and I are one!” This is fucking dumb

“I may be small, but I can help.”

“She, Tuxedo Mask, and Small Lady combined their powers.’

“I shall now bestow on you new planet powers.”

This is just an excuse to show artsy-ass pictures of them and now they’re getting “warm” “overflowing” new powers… which, I’m guessing, are their s3 abilities. Which… is not how that works? I’m pretty sure it’s just a natural evolution of things??????????? What the fuck

“It is forbidden to meet one’s past self. Such an encounter could alter history.” What the fuck is this, Doctor Who?

“Sailor Moon the Guardian of Mystery” um. s that mean she’s the Guardian of Agatha Christie or

“My new brooch, how did I get this?” The queen, obviously.

“Pluto may be gone, but I’ll guide us back just like she showed me!” OR WE COULD RESURRECT FUCKING SAILOR PLUTO ALREADY

“I want to talk to her… even if it does change history!” And now they’re meeting, making these ridiculous hearteyes like what the fuck you’re staring at yourself stop being gay what are these soft-focus bubbles up in here

Everyone is seeing their future selves! Surprise: everyone else’s future selves look… exactly like they look now because the other Guardians never get outfit upgrades to that degree

“Was it all just a dream?” No, there’s Chibi-usa to go back to the future with a backpack full of stuff and now Usagi is all sad and it’s emotional and shit and

“I wish I could stay longer, it’s not like I don’t want to” but you have to come back next season

“I’m not crying, you’re crying” THAT LITERALLY JUST HAPPENED

“Be a good girl” NO MAMO NO

“Oh, I’d better hurry up! Mommy and Daddy are calling me!” NOOOOO

Chibi-usa just gave her a new moon rod to go with her new powers like jesus no that’s not how this works that’s not how any of this works I’m so holy shit

“Don’t cry, we’ll see her again!” ……when she pops out of Usagi’s vagina?

Why did it just show a montage of people hanging out? Rei and her ghostbuster friend, Mako and the rando boy, the cats, Motoki waving at Minako and Ami it literally makes no sense there is no joining thread between these images

Oh look Chibi-usa is back already announcing she’s here to train. That’s correct.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Whimsy Wednesday :: in which the power of “best friends” saves the day. Sort of.

15 Mar

“I’m going to end it all and take all of you with me!!!”

Sailor Pluto is activating her time key in order to stop time and do that thing? The law she cannot break, “not under any circumstances,” but like, if she has the ability why can’t she use it, but also if she’s doing that now at the end of s2 what happens in s3 yike???

Somehow she stopped time but the pixie dust emanating from her key has woken up the protags so they can ???? Black Lady is also awake. The time key has fallen and Pluto has as well.

“Why is that wrong, she saved us all” same Jupiter

She’s gon’ die, Pluto is, except we know she won’t really, and Usagi is taking advantage of the stopped time to heed Pluto’s advice and get the Silver Crystals

Pluto is currently laying in Jupiter’s lap and emoting about how she always wanted to fight alongside the others  (blushblush) this is…. Kinda gay

And also she’s coughing and dying of plot device

But she’ll be back, won’t she?

She teleported Diana to thank her aw, mew, that’s sorta sweet.

Also it doesn’t look like Pluto is so much on Jupiter’s lap as she is pastede on yey

Now ~Black Lady has watched this terrible display of emotion and she’s feeling something. She is trying to remind herself she is evil and not part of anything but she remembers otherwise! She remembers stealing Pluto’s time key to go to the past

“There are many kinds of love, and many ways to show affection. […] Sometimes you cannot even show your love at all.” UM ALRIGHT

“Why can’t I stop crying” because you have a big gay love for Sailor Pluto.

And now she’s crying and the crying turns into a Silver Crystal that turns her back into being small and also good and into a sailor senshi?????

“What light is this?” Uh okay

Transformation!

……so Chibi-Moon could only exist through great pain? That’s dumb.

Maybe if she cries on Pluto, Pluto will wake up. That would be dumb but okay.

That’s literally how the first Pokemon movie ends

“You were given the greatest power in the universe but you threw it away” no the Silver Crystal is the greatest power in the universe though.

“Do you really think you stand a chance against me now” yes

She is Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon stands a chance against everything.

Did that attack storm work? Who knows

Demande is getting in the way somehow????

“I won’t let you take what belongs to me. Sailor Moon is mine” shut up

“If anyone walks away from this with the Silver Crystal, it’s going to be me!” sure Jan

This is sketch but Demande just got exploded into dust maybe

Good Mercury can science the distorted space

“Darkness, it’s sucking us in”

“What the hell is that” a corpse???? A skull?? “My name is Death Phantom”

“I am Nemesis! Nemesis is me!” thanks…for the tautology lesson

Jesus christ this is a lot.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Sunday :: her thoughts on Logan

12 Mar

(We went to see this together, but honestly, my entire enjoyment and opinion of this film hinged on hers. She’s passionate about Laura in a way that most people aren’t passionate about anything. So I’m just letting her take this one.)

I’ve been an X-Men fan for almost ten years. I’ve read hundreds of the comics, watched all three cartoons, and have seen all but two of the movies. (I skipped The Wolverine because the first one was so bad, and Apocalypse because all it was going to do was make me rage.) At this point, I probably have a better working knowledge of the X-Men mythos than 80% of the population, and I haven’t even read any direct X-Men comics in a couple years. So it’s been personally painful to watch the movies devolve into what they’ve become, after X-Men was a decent setup movie and X2 was a solid if flawed adaptation of the spirit of the comics. I swore off the movies forever, after hearing about all the ridiculous issues with Apocalypse. But then they released the teaser poster for Logan.

I’d been dreading this movie for over a year. The tiny hand holding Logan’s either meant one of two things: Daken, his biological son via his Japanese wife Itsu, and a character which I have deep-seated contempt for, or X-23/Laura Kinney.

X-23 is similar to Harley Quinn in that she was first introduced in an animated series (X-Men: Evolution and Batman: The Animated Series respectively), but both proved so popular with fans that they crossed over into comics canon and have had multiple ongoing series featuring them. X-23 was first introduced in a miniseries called NYX, then later had two miniseries entitled Innocence Lost and Target X. The most basic explanation for her creation in the comics is that she is the result of the attempt to repeat the success of Weapon X, the program that enhanced Wolverine. A group of scientists attempted to create a clone of Wolverine, but after 22 attempts and non-viable embryos they ran out of Y chromosome. (I know, I know, just roll with it, comics are stupid.) Finally, on the 23rd attempt, they create an embryo with two X chromosomes and have one of the scientists, Sarah Kinney, carry and deliver it. X-23 was born with two bone claws on her hands and one claw on both her feet, and they coat her bones with adamantium just like Wolverine’s and begin to train her to be a living weapon. Sarah Kinney works closely with her, secretly names her Laura, and helps her to connect with her humanity. Eventually Laura breaks out and destroys the facility as she escapes, but accidentally kills Sarah in the process. Target X is about her attempts to connect with her biological family, first Sarah’s sister and niece and then Logan himself.

I read Innocence Lost when I was 16 and it was a transformative experience. Most people have one or two favorite X-Men; Laura is mine. So I was anxious about how they would adapt her character to the big screen, especially since the X-Men movies have a shaky track record with my other favorites (Rogue, hilariously incorrect; Gambit, physically spot-on but missing the accent and the charm; Nightcrawler, serviceable but missing key aspects of his personality; Shadowcat, best forgotten as an embarrassment). I don’t usually look up the plots of movies before I go to them, but this one I did, because as long as I knew what happened, I couldn’t be blindsided by any stupid plot developments.

Logan is a damn good movie. I wish I could say it was a great movie, but there’s a really glaring issue with it that spoils my enjoyment a bit. But it’s a good movie, and more importantly it’s a good X-Men movie. I feel like this was Fox’s apology to us all for the various shitty X-Men movies they’ve given us over the last decade or so. This was the X-Men movie we’ve all been waiting for, even if we’re sick to death of Wolverine (and I really am). This is gritty and violent and Logan swears up a storm and it has humor and heart and it really captured the spirit of the character. It’s set decade in the future (2029), where there are few mutants left and no mutant children have been born in decades. A dying Logan (Hugh Jackman) acts as guardian and painkiller supplier for an also-dying Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Both their lives are interrupted when Logan meets a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), and the three of them set out on a journey that may be a fool’s errand. I looked up the plot, but I would recommend that unless you too will start screaming in rage about deviations from the comics, you just go see this for yourself.

Things I loved, with as few spoilers as I can manage:

  • Laura was perfect. Dafne Keen’s performance was outstanding – she nailed Laura’s eerie, non-blinking stare and the way that, especially early on, she didn’t speak often and when she did it was using as few words as possible. She also nailed her hair-trigger temper, and the way that she (especially as a younger child) flew into a rage when provoked. They also chose to make her bilingual but primarily Spanish-speaking, which is interesting. She does know multiple languages in the comics (one joke in Target X is that she and her cousin go to school, only to be thrown out of French class because Laura listed off multiple gruesome facts about killing people) so this is fine. One thing I do wish they’d managed to incorporate was the trigger scent, which they trained her to automatically respond to (and which was how they forced her to kill her mother). Also I’m mildly confused because she mentions that she’s killed people before, and they were “bad people,” but I was under the impression that they didn’t get very far using the mutant children as attack dogs for hire before they scrapped that program. I think maybe a bit more fleshing out of that idea would have been good. But Keen is amazing, certainly the most subtle child actor I’ve seen since Quvenzhané Wallis, and I hope she’ll go on to do great things with this character.
  • I am sick to death of Wolverine as a character, but Jackman is playing a weathered, beat-down old man who is the last of a dying breed and who can’t find peace with himself. This is the Wolverine movie they’ve been trying to make for twenty years, and Jackman is giving his all. He probably won’t get any serious award nominations for this, but it’s a real pity, because he deserves them. I’m glad this is the one he chose to go out on.
  • Patrick Stewart is also phenomenal, of course. He’s an old man in pain and sometimes barely conscious, and letting out some of his salt while he’s at it. He and Jackman play off each other beautifully. The film teases out some of the history of what happened to the rest of the X-Men and why Xavier is mostly alone at this point, and it’s fascinating. I almost want to know more about that history, but I think that the film gave us just enough and didn’t beat us over the head with what happened.
  • Any movie that has Wolverine in it and isn’t rated R is just asking for trouble. This one goes barreling straight into the violence, with Logan and Laura slashing and decapitating people left and right. But it doesn’t really feel gratuitous; it feels like the movie we’ve been building to all this time. If you’ve read a Wolverine comic, then you know that this is the kind of violence we should’ve been getting all along. It’s been a hell of a wait, but it’s immensely satisfying to get it now.
  • SMALL SPOILER: The mutant kids were neat, though I wish we’d spent a little more time with them. We barely know anyone’s names, except for the de facto leader, Rictor. Rictor has earth-moving powers, and has been in the comics since the 80s. He’s a good character, and I’m hoping they’ll do more with him in future movies. (He has been a member of X-Force, and I keep hearing rumors that Fox is trying to make that movie. Fingers crossed.)

I have a few complaints, though. Some of them are nitpicky and some of them are not. SPOILERS for major plot points.

  • The single most frustrating thing about the movie is that about two-thirds of the way through it, a Wolverine clone shows up. No, not Laura – Laura has been there for an hour by this point. We already love tiny murder machine Laura. This clone is a full-size Hugh Jackman Wolverine clone with a flat-top haircut who basically runs on rage for…some reason? This is deeply stupid. This doesn’t make any sense, even if you divorce it from the comics. There was no reason to have a Wolverine clone in this movie. No reason. It cheapened the movie for me, and even though most of the scenes with the clone were good, there was really no damn reason for it to be there. True, part of the reason I’m annoyed is because of the comics canon – it has been established that they can’t make a male clone of Wolverine, and their attempts to copy the success of Laura were first destroyed in Innocence Lost and then recently again in the new Wolverine comic starring Laura. (She currently has one biological “sister,” Gabby, but all the other “sisters” have died.) There has never been a male clone of Wolverine in the comics, because that defeats the entire purpose of Wolverine – he is the best at what he does. The clone in the movie is called X-24 (I’ll get to why that bothers me in a second), and its only purpose is to act as living hubris for the scientists who created not only Laura and the other mutant children (again, getting there). Oh, and to beat Logan to a pulp of course. The fight scenes with it are pretty good, but it was just so unnecessary. Anyway, the reason why it shouldn’t be X-24 is that X-23’s name in the comics comes from the fact that she is the 23rd attempt at the Weapon X cloning program. There is a direct line in the comics about “X-24 through X-50,” the other viable embryos that were created after Laura – which Laura destroys along with the rest of the facility. There should be no “X-24.” If there were no cloning attempts before Laura, then why make Laura female? And if they could make a male clone all along, then why didn’t they before? It was ridiculous and pissed me off every time the clone popped up.
  • I am also deeply annoyed about their choice to call Laura and the other mutant children they created in the lab “the X-23s.” Why bother calling them that? Without the Weapon X context, the name X-23 is completely arbitrary. It’s fanservice but it’s fanservice that’s doesn’t actually make any sense and will probably piss off more fans like me, who actually care about the reasons behind the codenames. (Laura’s code is “X-23-23,” which is so stupid I can’t handle it.)
  • I hear that Caliban (Stephen Merchant) was in Apocalypse. For some reason he was in this movie too. I’m familiar with this character from the comics and, while I understand the logistical reasons for him being there (his power is to find other mutants, so they needed him to track Logan and Laura), I’m still upset at how incorrect he was. In the comics, Caliban lives underground with a group called the Morlocks, the “undesirable” mutants that can’t live amongst regular people because of their hideous or abnormal appearances. He is an empathetic, shy person in the comics, who helps Shadowcat after she becomes ill and falls in love with her, but allows her to return to the surface when he realizes she does not love him in return. He also speaks in the third person, which isn’t a huge deal but is just annoying to change because it’s a distinctive part of his character. And his skin doesn’t get burned by the sun. I get why they made these changes but as a low-key fan of the character I’m just annoyed. I would’ve preferred they just make up a random mutant-tracking character and given him the same role.
  • I understand for plot purposes why they had the biological mothers-slash-carriers of the mutant children be Mexican women, and it’s actually a really interesting bit of meta-commentary, but considering how important Laura’s mom was to her in the comics, I’m not very happy that they’ve just erased her like this. I’m guessing maybe they will call her Laura Howlett in the movies now, which. Whatever.
  • At one point Logan and co. help a family, the Munsons, and end up staying with them. They are, of course, slaughtered by the X-24 clone. They happened to cast a black family, and while there are a handful of other black and brown characters in the movie (mostly unnamed children), they are the only named characters of color besides Laura’s nurse Gabriela and her friend Rictor. I wish they hadn’t been black; there are unfortunate implications there.
  • The head of the program is called Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant). Zander is actually from the Innocence Lost series, but he’s different, aside from being the son of a man who worked on the original Weapon X program. He’s been aged up, and his role in Laura’s development has actually been replaced by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). In the comics, Zander treated Laura as subhuman, openly sneering at her and assuming he could control her; Pierce takes on this role in the movie. It’s not a huge issue but for someone who knows the original miniseries as well as I do it was jarring.
  • This is a stupid personal hangup, but Laura calls Logan “daddy” as he’s dying and I have an in-joke about that word so it kind of spoiled the emotional effect they were going for. Oh well.

END SPOILERS.

There’s a good amount for me to bitch about, but the fact is that I enjoyed myself in this movie immensely, and it is the best X-Men movie since X2. Maybe it’s the best X-Men movie period? Anyway, I recommend it.

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Whimsy Wednesday :: in which everything is stupid and Elektral complex.

8 Mar

“Wiseman’s true identity is revealed” what, are you going to try to redeem him too

“…and now I am Queen of Nemesis, Queen of the Dark Planet” how many times must you say you are a queen honey nobody believes it

Oh you cray, you just threw your toy away

“No trace of her remains” literally she just said who she was though so some trace of her does remain your thesis is flawed spoopy gentleman

They remixed and sped up the theme song randomly on this episode and it sounds horrible.

“…the Beast Hands are mine now!” sodifjsdofjsfodjf

“YOU’RE NOT LAYING A HAND ON SAILOR MOON”

Why are they imprisoning the others with giant electric crescent black moons that looks fucking stupid

“My name is Black Lady!” MOOOOOOOOM THIS IS WHO I AAAAAAMMMMMM NOW

“I have him, as long as he loves me that’s all I need” NOOOOO THAT IS YOUR DAD

I’M KINKSHAMING

Also Black Lady still doesn’t have lipstick on her upper lip and it’s fucking dumb

Sailor Moon is just angstmonologuing jeez

“Don’t talk to me like you know me, you don’t know anything!”

“Taking someone prisoner and making them love you, you’re wrong, it can make you happy” no Demande no, boy it’s nice that Sailor Moon is going to teach him otherwise

Is this music from Star Wars it sounds like music from Star Wars

“Damn the Moon Kingdom and its palace” stop

“I have everything that is precious to you” uh, not really, you don’t reeeally have the other four senshi or the cats or Tokyo or… food

Also I love that it’s pronounced not like, “Wise Man” but like “Weissman” like a last name.

I don’t love it. That was a lie.

(Fun fact Greg Weisman makes amazing superhero cartoons and doesn’t deserve his name getting shit on like this)

Wiseman was a corpse and now is showing himself and Wiseman is… the eye of Sauron?

So now Sailor Pluto is angsting because she is the guardian of space and time, who guards space-time

Okay but the giant crescent moons aren’t preventing them from moving just from doing things? That’s dumb couldn’t they just run and kick Demande in the head

Wiseman is Nemesis? He is consciousness merged with a planet

That’s fucking dumb

“The darkness is draining our energy” as opposed to before when it was just… sipping on your energy or something?

“We were toys, puppets you manipulated” no… shit…

Now Sailor Moon is going to… something….

Diana is coming to get Pluto to help, awww Diana is offering to sub in for Pluto so Pluto can go help because Pluto is sad, holy shit okay that’s adorable I’m okay with that.

So now we know how Pluto becomes free to get unleashed on the Death Busters next season.

~Endymion taking the crystal broke his hypnosis or something maybe?

Now Demande grabbed them? “I believe in nothing I follow no one I am my own master”

–your fangirl heroines.

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