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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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Fashion Friday :: important detective princess.

31 Mar

skmk2

So here’s the thing about Misty Knight (Simone Missick). Not only does she kick ass in a beating-dudes-up way, she kicks ass with her brain in a particular way that in television is usually attributed to white men, not black women. Also in the comics she has a gold arm, which is pretty cool. (The above picture shows the actress, not in character, side by side with an image from the comics, because like last week I need to pull that up for reference for y’all.)

antiqu

Hear me out: there were no red blazers I liked for mimicing Netflix!Misty’s actual style, but this sweater has red trim so it matches the pants and it’s gold like her robot arm. Antique Market Maven Sweater, ModCloth.

jive

Because then she can kick asses. Jive Got a Feeling Pants in Red, ModCloth.

toe-tap

And here we have flat shoes for the same purpose. Toe-Tap Velvet Flat in Rouge, ModCloth.

giddy

There are not any hoop earrings on the website, so have these instead. Giddy for Geometry Earrings, ModCloth.

a-cuff

And for some extra gold for that arm. A Cuff Above the Rest Bracelet, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Luke Cage

24 Oct

So! We actually spent last Monday finishing Luke Cage, hence the lack of anything posted that night. And friends, you had better watch this thing. It is a great.

5. The aesthetic is hardcore.
So admittedly most of what I know about blaxploitation films from the 1970s and such comes from reading and Jackie Brown and then reading some more, but I think, anyway, that Luke Cage successfully owned the genre in the most empowering way it could. Luke (Mike Colter) and Pop (Frankie Faison) and some of the others at the barbershop even have a discussion about iconic heroes of that era. And there’s a hint of meta to this; Luke himself is “a blaxploitation-inspired character first created in the Seventies” (quoth telegraph.co.uk) so this discussion is a bit self-aware and a bit genre-savvy. But also, the whole perceptible vibe of the show is so damn cool. Daredevil is a classic crime story, Jessica Jones almost a modern feminist film noir, but Luke Cage has arguably the most distinctive and also most inspiring genre vibe, from the music to the color tone (where Daredevil tends to be green and gray and Jessica Jones tends bold bred-purple-blue, Luke Cage is even in its darker moments so warm) to the cast of characters and their respective designs. It’s a very passionate, loving tribute to the whole genre and history of such characters appearing in film and television, and that’s not something you see all that often, but especially not in rather white superhero canons.

4. There’s a refreshing lack of white people.
I (drift partner) have a white mom and a Chinese dad and I mostly look white, but I am also very tired of stories about predominantly white people. So I always enjoy watching something like Luke Cage (or the excellent Queen of Katwe) where there are so few white people that it’s almost comical. The only significant white character is Misty Knight’s partner Rafael Scarfe (Frank Whaley), who turns out to be secretly working for Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and murders one of their key witnesses. Other than that, I’m struggling to recall a single white character that has more than a dozen lines. I’m not black, but it sure is nice to see a story about black people that doesn’t involve hardly any white people (and no slave narratives).

3. Mariah Dillard is one of the best villains in the whole MCU.
This Vulture article probably sums up why Mariah is such a great character better than I can, so I won’t try to talk over it. But I will say that Alfre Woodard gives an amazing performance, probably one of the best in the series, and I’m glad she’ll be back next season. She’s much more complex and interesting than both Cottonmouth and Diamondback, and she’s sort of a terrible person, but in a riveting way. Also, all of my friends are obsessed with her and her second, Shades (Theo Rossi), and I don’t exactly ship it but I definitely see the appeal. I can’t wait to see more of her.

2. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and Misty Knight (Simone Missick).
We the audience know Claire. We’ve met her on several occasions, and indeed from where we’re all sitting right now she is most likely the Night Nurse, er, the woman bringing the Netflix stuff all together. She’s good-hearted and fierce and she wants to help in the ways she knows how and also in some of the ways she doesn’t. Also, she and Matt were okay but she and Luke just work really well together. They have fantastic chemistry and their personalities bounce off each other and it makes for a really nice relationship. And hey, speaking of personalities that bounce well with Luke’s, and also personalities that bounce well with Claire’s, now we have Misty. Misty combines some pretty traditional narratives (good-hearted cop seeks justice while peers seek infamy, brilliant but tempestuous cop seeks justice at all costs, consistently underestimated character consistently proves peers wrong) but one of the interesting things is that those narratives don’t often star a black woman, and another of those interesting things is that the cop narratives star a black woman working to counteract the obvious tension between America’s cops and America’s black communities. Another interesting thing is the nature of that brilliance: Misty is tough, athletic, and can easily hold her own in a fight, but Misty is also highly perceptive in a way that’s usually reserved for, well, white guys. Misty goes beyond just a good detective and the repeated storytelling device of how she replays instances at crime scenes is so thorough and methodical that in my opinion it gives her an almost Sherlock Holmesian quality (if Sherlock Holmes was a black woman and also less of an asshole).

1. This is a show about a bulletproof black man who protects and saves other people of color.
An awful lot of black writers have written pages and pages about how important Luke Cage is at this time, considering the horrific numbers of black people and especially black men murdered by police this year alone. It’s comforting even as a non-black person to know that 1) Luke is the main character and 2) Luke is bulletproof, so even when he gets shot at (and later in the series when he gets injured), he’ll be totally fine. It’s also important because Luke has the ability to do what the other people in Harlem can’t – namely, fight back against the people who are threatening and hurting them. This is both Cottonmouth’s lackeys and the cops, and the show does not shy away from discussing police brutality and racially motivated violence either. (As mentioned earlier, Scarfe kills one of the young men who were involved in the investigation against Cottonmouth and some of his men.) Luke can protect people, and he does, though sometimes he is not successful. But he does manage to save some, and those he loses, he uses as motivation to keep going. Much like Jessica Jones offered some sexual assault survivors catharsis when she pushes back against Kilgrave’s mind control and then kills him, Luke Cage offers its black viewers the opportunity to see a black character who is nearly invincible survive and fight back.