Tag Archives: ~drift partner

Sundry Monday :: RCCC 2017

12 Sep

It was a long weekend. Long and hurried and we got very, very few pictures so here is a very brief summary. (These costumes are going to get their own better shoots later, but this should do for now. Also they’re both works in progress, so.)

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This is our “having a conversation” pose! We are Maggie Sawyer and Kate Kane aka Batwoman of DC Bombshells, featuring a lot of items found on Amazon and modded as necessary.

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This is our “action babes being casual or something” pose! We are Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, eh shrug not really circa any moment in particular. End of Ultron maybe. It did not occur to me how many people were going to confuse my coat for Star-Lord’s, which is dumb because they’re two obviously different styles and Star-Lord doesn’t wear a corset or leather pants and also if you cosplay Star-Lord you have to get either a gun, mask, or stupid headphones, but eh, shrug, whatever.

It was a good weekend. Pearl Mackie, Carlos Valdez, Danielle Panabaker, Rose McIver, and Katee Sackhoff are all very sweet people, as are the randoms we met in line and whatnot. Also I saw Chelsea Cain, who was there visiting people, and stopped her to tl;dr a little about Mockingbird mostly and she took a selfie with me and put it on Twitter and I kind of died of glee.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on The Defenders

28 Aug

This show was very silly and quite gay.

As always, we acknowledge the criticisms and complains others may have, but honestly, we had eight hours of fun with The Defenders and we’re here to tell you about all of the silly and/or gay things we enjoyed about it. (Many. We’re kind of amazed that our neighbors have not thumped on the floor/ceiling because we’re shouting “GAY” too loudly.)

Spoilers!

Gay things

  • Foggy (Elden Hensen) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) are both really really in love with Matt (Charlie Cox) and they miss him a lot. Matt is also really really gay for Foggy. Matt and Karen can also be in love BUT only if Foggy is there too. Good triad.
  • Luke (Mike Colter) and Claire (Rosario Dawson) have a very good relationship that is technically heterosexual but is nevertheless very gay. At one point she reaches up to brush some debris off his head or something after he’s been rescuing people from rubble after an earthquake, and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Also they break a table from fucking, which sounds about right. They care so much about each other and also everyone else in the city and they trust each other’s opinions and they’re so good together. A+ good m/f.
  • There’s LITERALLY a scene where Karen and Trish (Rachael Taylor) – after musing about the current events in a mutually journalistic fashion, which is pretty cool – are discussing their relationships with Matt and Jessica (Krysten Ritter) respectively, and Trish asks Karen what Matt is to her, and Karen says “…a good friend, it’s complicated” in a way that implies the friendship was either actually with benefits or she wanted it to be. And then Trish says, “Jessica’s a good friend too. Not in the traditional sense…she wouldn’t be there to move a couch or plan a party, but when it comes to the real stuff, the stuff that’ll last forever…” And then we screamed our heads off because the narrative directly conflated an actual canon m/f relationship with Jess/Trish. Trish Walker is in love with Jessica Jones pass it on.
  • Jess and Trish also have some nice moments together, bantering over (whiskey-infused) coffee and Trish trying to convince Jess to be on her radio show and Jess worrying about her and running into the middle of a meeting to protect Trish and a hug to end all hugs and… sorry. They’re in love.
  • The narrative grinds to a halt in the final episode for a good two minutes just so Colleen (Jessica Henwick) can tell Claire about how she’s just as important as the people who have powers and how she’s a hero too. It is ridiculous. You can see her hearteyes from space.
  • Colleen also finally meets her comics gf Misty (Simone Missick) in this series. Their first introduction is at the police station, where Misty comes to comment on the katana that her fellow officers confiscated from Colleen when she was brought in. “It’s weird,” she says, but with a kind of smirk like it might be the cute kind of weird. After a discussion about Colleen’s ability to protect herself, she then returns the katana, in the middle of the police station, just in case. Misty also shows up to participate in Colleen’s final boss battle against her erstwhile mentor, which does not end well for her but it ends not-well for her in a way that people who have any awareness of the comics at all are super excited about because it means we are this much closer to The Daughters of the Dragon. That’s their team-up in the comics, and it’s probably going to replace Iron Fist once Danny (Finn Jones) dies of being such a big idiot.
  • Honestly, most of the interactions between women in this series are incredible. Claire and Misty? Perfect as always. Jess gets to bite Jeri’s (Carrie Anne Moss) head off which isn’t gay at all even though Jeri is, y’know, actually canonically gay but the yelling is always nice because Jeri is also awful. And then there is the good-bad of…
  • Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) and Elektra (Elodie Yung), which is very very very very fucked up but also, they have a ridiculous amount of chemistry. You have to get kind of kinkshame-y because Alexandra keeps calling her “my child,” but like, you were already going to hell if you shipped this anyway so whatever. She is constantly touching her and fawning over her and they touch foreheads like four times and it is just absurd.
  • Elektra and Matt are also excellent and despite being m/f, also quite gay. I was not expecting the freight train of feelings I got about them after season 2 of Daredevil, but they have continued to ruin me all throughout this show too. They also do the forehead touching thing, which is my favorite thing in all the world for couples to do and if I hadn’t already been ride or die for them, that would have sealed the deal. I literally get incoherent talking about them but just, they have murdered me.

Silly things

  • Let’s start this with the necessary remarks about Danny freaking Rand. We hate him. We have been trying to slog through Iron Fist for continuity’s sake and also Colleen’s and Claire’s sakes, but as you can tell by the fact that we’ve never actually blogged about it we have not managed to get all the way through. This is not because of Colleen, who is in general fantastic and I’m so happy for Jessica Henwick especially after the thing that happened elsewhere (and the other thing that happened in another place, hi Lucasfilm, fuck you too) and I just really love this badass warrior who is still at heart something of a meliorist even though she’s seen all this terrible shit, and not because of Claire, who is 100% solid always, but because of (well, the supporting characters and plotlines – the Meachums we refer to as “garbage Lannisters,” for example, and not in a fond way – but mostly) Danny. Danny is just. Every bad thing. There is literally a scene in Iron Fist where he prays to Buddha. He prays. To. Buddha. There are countless edits and crops of Defenders promo material that remove Danny from the picture (thanks to one, this has earned the name “fenders,” which is appropriate because if you remove Danny it is the same thing as removing a big old d), because nobody likes him. And luckily, none of the other Defenders seem to really like him that much either. The first time Luke meets him, he immediately whoops his ass into the ground, and the only reason Danny wins is dumb luck and his magical glowstick hand. Jessica is constantly making fun of the name “Iron Fist” and calling him by different names (such as Ironside). Even Matt barely tolerates him, and Matt has a trophy in being a whiny douchebag sometimes. (We love him, but it’s true.) Unfortunately, Colleen’s one weak point is the fact that for some reason (narratively compulsory heterosexuality) she actually cares about him, but pretty much everyone else is done with him. And the show itself seems pretty done with him too. In fight scenes with the other characters, he basically acts as a video game NPC who only has like 3 programmed moves that he cycles through. He bounces around on his heels and throws fake punches that barely connect and it looks ridiculous. He’s somehow crucial to the main antagonists’ plan, but they literally only need him for his aforementioned magical glowstick hand. At one point Elektra straps him to a large metal dolly and totes him through the building, which prompted us to give him the nickname Large Box. But we guess he had to be there because there had to be someone to be useless.
  • Everybody except Jessica is so Extra about everything. The villains are Extra about their clothes and strutting around in silly villain outfits while looking as non-menacing as possible (seriously, Alexandra’s wardrobe is the most nonsensical couture I have ever seen). Elektra is Extra once she remembers who she is and takes over the Hand, and even before she swooshes her giant coat around in every battle like she’s the Phantom of the Opera or something. Matt and Danny are the most Extra people on the planet and will not cease angsting about their cities which are either dead (Danny’s) or in danger (Matt’s) and their shitty upbringings/dead parents. Matt also will not stop doing parkour in situations that don’t require parkour at all. Colleen is pretty cool, but she also walks around New York City with a katana casually strapped to her back. Even Luke gets in on it a little bit, when he’s angsting about how he wants to help the young people of Harlem avoid getting mixed up in the Hand’s business. Jessica is having absolutely none of this and makes fun of all of them at every opportunity.
  • Matt and Jess are also hilarious together. As actors, they have great platonic chemistry, and as characters, their temperaments are so constantly on opposite ends of the spectrum that it’s wonderful. Matt parkours into a building and Jess just gets on the elevator. Matt has a lot of feelings and Jess just wants a drink. There is so much banter.
  • The main group of villains is called the Hand. They’ve been a thing since season 1 of Daredevil, but the writers decided to just go to the next level of silly here and say that they have five leaders, who are called the Fingers. Grown adults unironically call each other the Hand and the Fingers. It is so goofy it loops back around to genius.

Other

  • Elodie Yung is transcendent.
  • Jessica Henwick is, as mentioned, the most wonderful.
  • Just about everyone is pretty great, honestly, but these two warrant special mention.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on The Hitman’s Bodyguard

27 Aug

You know how sometimes you just crave junk food? You know it’s bad for you, and it won’t be filling or substantive at all, but you want it anyway? This movie is basically the movie version of that. It’s stupid, and cheesy, and not even that great, and you know it, but in the moment it’s pretty enjoyable.

If you’ve seen the trailers for this movie, you’ll know whether you’ll like it or not. The trailers pretty much give away the basic beats of the movie: Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) needs Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), a former professional bodyguard, to protect him, and they’re total opposites and fight each other as well as the people who are after Kincaid. There’s a tiny bit more plot to it, which is completely ridiculous – Kincaid is the single credible witness in a trial against a foreign dictator, and escapes Interpol custody after double agents try to take him out, and Bryce is the only person who can get him to the trial before the deadline is up and the dictator is pardoned due to lack of evidence. But mostly it’s just an excuse for Ryan Reynolds and Sammy L. to banter for two hours and shoot people. This movie is basically a wacky cartoon with real people and more murder and violence.

It’s honestly kind of bad, but it knows what it is, and Reynolds and Sammy L. are pretty much parodying themselves and that makes it fun. Half of Sammy L.’s dialogue is “motherfucker,” and Reynolds is an affable tightass. Sometimes the jokes are stupid, but you can tell they’re both having so much fun that you end up smiling along anyway. I nearly always have a better time in movies when I can tell that the actors are having a good time. I was also expecting a lot more cringe-worthy offensive moments, but aside from one use of the r-slur and the occasional (not unexpected for the genre) sexist joke or titty shot, it’s really not that bad. There’s also a scene near the beginning where a man’s wife and child get shot in front of him for no other reason than a Kick the Dog moment, but hey, I wasn’t shocked, just mildly annoyed.

Most of the reason we went to see this movie on the big screen was because Elodie Yung has a pretty significant secondary role, playing an Interpol agent and Reynolds’ ex. She is the one who helps Sammy L. to a safehouse after the double agents strike, and she contacts Reynolds because, as she says, “he’s the only one who can get Darius to the trial safely.” She gets to kick a reasonable amount of ass, and her cheekbones are ridiculous. As we’ll get into more in our Monday Defenders post, she’s an absolutely electric presence. I’m also obsessed with her accent. She also screams at Reynolds in French a couple of times, which is a nice bonus. Salma Hayek is also here, as Sammy L.’s wife who is locked up, and she’s only in a handful of scenes but she is a profane delight. She’s not always in “popcorn” kinds of movies, but she was delightful. She and Sammy L. actually have a really sweet relationship too – he gushes about her nonstop and goes out of his way to perform one particular romantic gesture for her even though he’s got dozens of operatives on his tail. It’s weirdly charming and I’d watch another movie about them.

I don’t know that it’s worth full theater price, but if you don’t have anything else to do and there’s a morning or matinee showing, and you like any or all of these people, there are worse things you could see. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, for sure.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on Atomic Blonde

12 Aug

Damn, guys. I’m sorry. It’s been incredibly busy lately, and I’m just going to leave it that and move along.

Now, if you’re here you probably know all the reasons you might not like this movie. All of those are valid. But we went anyway, because we wanted to watch Charlize Theron kill guys. And of course, that’s the #1 reason that you could, in fact, like this movie. Here’s five others.

  1. The aesthetic. It’s a comic book movie (though a lesser-known comic, one I’d not heard of) and that’s pretty clear from a lot of the visual layout. The hotel room in particular is a total illustration.
  2. Charlize’s character Lorraine also has an incredibly satisfyingly cohesive and interesting wardrobe that has its themes (black and white and maybe red) without being too reliant on the 80s setting.
  3. There is a very good amount of girlkissing. Yes, this doesn’t end well. No, we’re not excusing that, and yes, we look forward to a movie where Sofia Boutella gets to be happy without being painted to look like a space alien. But there’s girlkissing (and girlsex!) that didn’t feel entirely male-gazey. They’re actually cute and converse and cuddle.
  4. Bad things happen to the men that deserve it. Pretty much all of them.
  5. Bill Skarsgard’s Merkel was oddly charming, and I’m not just saying that out of Skarsgard bias, because I didn’t actually connect the dots of who he was until the end. I just liked the character.

–your fangirl heroines.

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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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