Tag Archives: spoiler alert saturday

Spoiler Alert Monday :: our thoughts on Black Panther

19 Feb

It was a weird weekend and we’re posting this now so deal with it. It can’t wait.

First of all: we are not the people whose opinions about this movie matter at all. Even if we had both hated Black Panther, that wouldn’t have mattered. Black Panther is a superhero movie with a worldwide release by a major studio directed by, written by, starring, and designed by a largely black cast and crew, about a fictional African country that has never been colonized and has the greatest technological achievements of any country in the world. That is groundbreaking. (If you’re reading this and wondering why it’s such a big deal, I really recommend seeking out black writers’ thoughts on the film.)

Of course, the movie is also just really great. If you’re tired of superhero movies about the same old hero’s journey, I think you’ll be pleased with the places this movie goes. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his home country of Wakanda shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War to be crowned king after the tragic death of his father, T’Chaka. He wants to be a good king, but he is faced with a choice: keep Wakanda’s secrets and remain sequestered from the rest of the world, or use their country’s resources and power to help the oppressed around the world. Things become more complicated when a newcomer appears, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who challenges T’Challa’s leadership

I don’t want to give too much away, but here are some non-spoilery (or the vaguest of spoilers) highlights:

  • Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the smartest person in the world, and she’s a sixteen-year-old princess who loves her brother and gives him lots of shit. She is probably going to be my favorite character of 2018 and if we don’t get a movie about her I will flip a desk. She’s this weird ball of teenage girl energy and the absolute pure essence of the Afrofuturism that this movie is bringing to the forefront (check that out, it’s super interesting), from her clothes to her multitude of inventions to her attitude to her technology.
  • T’Challa himself is a great character, much more dimensional than the (delightful) glimpses of him we got in Civil War as a quiet but skillful warrior trying to avenge the death of his father. His arc in this movie is a bit different from the typical superhero arc, and it’s wonderful to watch.
  • Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) fills the “love interest” role, but oh, thank goodness, there’s a brief glimpse of good het in a Marvel movie again, because she and T’Challa are great. It could be a dangerous setup, the exes who work together (goodness knows Marvel has messed that up before), but they work so well together. They’re still obviously on good terms despite the ambiguous breakup in their past; she can fight alongside him, he can confide in her, she protects him and his with all of her heart. She’s also incredible in her own right, multitalented and fearless and outspoken.
  • Then there’s Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje. They’re Wakanda’s elite all-lady warrior group, but that even seems like an understatement. They’re just fantastic at everything. Okoye is their general and she’s very driven by tradition and justice but also capable of snarking. (Ayo [Florence Kasumba], who had one little moment in Civil War, is still around as well, so that’s nice.)
  • Also on the kickass women front is Ramonda (Angela Bassett), T’Challa’s mother and Wakanda’s queen (mother). She gets to grieve for her husband without it being treated as a weakness, exemplify what it means to behave like royalty, have a great relationship with both of her kids… she’s pretty damn awesome.
  • ALSO M’BAKU (Winston Davis). I don’t want to spoil anything but he has one of the best lines in the movie and I love him.
  • W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) is an interesting character that I wanted to see more of. He went in a different direction than I was expecting, but Kaluuya does incredible things with his face and there’s one particular scene that is iconic.
  • Erik Killmonger is a great villain, one of the best the MCU has had, and Jordan gives an incredible performance. He’s also a terrible person, but at least he’s more interesting and fun to watch than most of the villains have been.

Go see this movie as soon as you can. It’s worth it.

–your fangirl heroines.



Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

21 Jan

We finally went a second time!

So, I absolutely get why people dislike this movie, or have problems with it. I’ve read multiple people’s takes on why it’s not good, and/or why they found it harmful or hurtful, and/or why they think it shits all over established Star Wars canon (it doesn’t). I think many of them are valid interpretations. I’m also really not interested in debating the merits of it. I had fun, I like it, I think it’s a pretty good, flawed movie, and I’m not really interested in fighting about it.

Having said that, here is a spoiler-minimal list of things that are (in our opinions) good about this movie.

  • Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is a great character and I’m going to fight anyone who says otherwise. She’s brave and clever and loyal and has the best scene ever, where she basically turns into the audience surrogate fangirling over Finn (John Boyega). It’s adorable. I’m very mad I can’t find a T-shirt with her on it because I love her.
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) is still also a great character. She’s stubborn and determined and optimistic and she try. Also it’s fascinating because you can read every emotion on her face and the progressions of those are everything. (Regarding something Kylo tells her about [spoiler], I’ll be very interested to see if the third movie addresses it, because I don’t believe it but I also don’t not believe it. Kylo is a liar and I want to see this plot explored a little more because I don’t know that Rey’s emotional arc re: this thing is done yet.)
  • Leia (Carrie Fisher, bless her) is practically perfect in every way and there is pretty much nothing that can stop me loving her aggressively. Of course, the movie yanks you around with her at a few different points, which is particularly heartwrenching now, but you also do have the security of knowing: she is in IX. That helps. Pretty much everything with her causes, if not tears, then watery eyes, at least. The strain of the instrumental theme is officially a killer of my soul. But I’m proud of our space mom, and I will say I pretty much cheered the first time around when she used the Force. Because, to hell with you, fake nerd boys. Leia’s got the damn Force.
  • Finn (John Boyega) continues to be a good man who is doing his best and who loves Rey very much. He’s not in it as much as he should be, but he’s wonderful anyway. The saddest thing about this movie is that Finn and Rey spend most of it apart.
  • I am also very proud of Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern). Also, Amilyn is a beautiful name, if kind of born of modernist nonsense etymological conventions, but I don’t care I still like it. But the point is, Holdo is great. Also, Holdo is canon bisexual (thanks to some of the literature). She’s this beautiful soft colorful light in the darkness of this war who does what she can and takes no shit and her moments with Leia killed us hard.
  • It is also nice to see so many girls in the (quasi-)background of the Resistance scenes! And a few in the First Order, too (my mom was especially thrilled about Kate Dickie, which was charming), but that’s not as exciting. There are some characters you see semi-regularly (Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix [Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter] gets more screen time this go-round, serving as a strong auxiliary member of the Resistance and its new guard; there’s a pilot named Tallie [Hermione Corfield], who mostly factors in the first fight scene but is definitely there; Rose’s sister Paige [Veronica Ngo] has a moment in that scene as well; Commander Larma D’Acy [Amanda Lawrence] seems to be one of the primary officers of the ship and does a lot of explaining) and a lot of other semi-regular background characters.
  • Finn and Poe (Oscar Isaac) continue to be extremely gay, although they don’t interact as much as in the first movie. Poe is fond of referring to Finn as “buddy” and “pal,” and when Finn first wakes up from his coma and he is wearing next-to-nothing, Poe definitely sneaks a peek south before leading him off to get changed. They also touch way more times than is strictly necessary. The m/f also continues to be very good, particularly Finn/Rey, as those two spend a decent chunk of the movie worrying or thinking about each other.
  • There are many excuses to laugh one’s ass off at Kylo (Adam Driver) and/or Hux (Domnhall Gleeson). This is very good.
  • The porgs are cute and all, but I love the vulptex (crystal foxes) and I want a plushie.

–your fangirl heroines.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Proud Mary

13 Jan

Basically, there is no good reason to throw a fit about this movie.

It’s the exact same revenge fantasy we’ve seen 20 times before, but instead of starring some middle-aged but trim/fit white fellow it’s got Taraji P. Henson being the one taking down all the bad guys. And she does, spectacularly. It doesn’t end up being much of a bloodbath, in that you don’t see all that much blood, but the kill count is high.

It doesn’t pass the Bechdel test (there are no scenes that are just between two women, let alone where they speak to each other about something other than a man) but it definitely passes the Mako Mori test (“a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story”) so that’s definitely good.

The only love story in the film is a platonic/familial one between Mary (Henson) and Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), the adolescent boy she ends up taking in. They learn how to trust each other and forgive each other and do good for each other despite neither having a good track record with people or specifically families and it’s very touching!

The style is also on point. Not only is Mary a stylish lady (understated but clearly sleek) but there’s just a really good overall vibe, one that respectfully edges toward blaxploitation without veering into anything sketchy.

It’s kind of nonsense in parts, but you know what? It’s the kind of nonsense that I will gladly watch a million more hours of.

–your angirl heroines.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on The Shape of Water

24 Dec

Admittedly about half of the initial appeal of The Shape of Water is the sheer “what the hell” factor. “Yeah, so there’s this movie about a girl who works at a scientific facility cleaning, right, and she’s mute, and she has a romance… with the sentient fishman the lab has captured to study.” And then someone inevitably goes “wait, what the hell?” and then someone else goes “Guillermo del Toro” and all is understood.

That it’s del Toro is also part of the appeal, of course. He makes a good weird movie. Even when it’s garbage (Crimson Peak) it’s good in its way; it’s always beautiful to look at in one way or another. And he knows how to write good romance/etc. When he tries (see also, Crimson Peak – I say with love).


This movie is pretty much… exactly what you expect. That’s also a common factor of del Toro movies, but again I say that with fondness. You pretty much know what you’re getting into when you walk into one. This is a fishman romance, no qualms about it.


According to the internet it’s set in 1962, though I don’t remember this being mentioned; you can place it vaguely in time given a reference to the Korean War and the lack of racial integration in public places as well as the overall Cold War themes and subplots. The period setting isn’t cloying, though, it just sort of is – which is something of a relief, honestly, as I’m sort of over the wink-wink-nudge-nudge routine that some period pieces do with jokes that are trying to be meta but about history (there’s one offhand remark about jetpacks, for example, being used in the future, but it’s not said when in the future so it’s not trying to be funny because us silly humans haven’t perfected the jetpack yet, or something). There are incredibly pretty things that are period-appropriate – streets at night, clothing details – but it’s not too pretty of a movie, which is to say it doesn’t overglamorize the setting.

The story is fairly simple. A real fish-out-of-water tale, you might say. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is, as mentioned, a mute woman who cleans at a scientific facility; her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) describes her as “educated,” which implies a certain attained level of cultural sensibility, perhaps, but it’s also mentioned that she’s an orphan who suffered a childhood injury that left her mute, and beyond these things little is known about her past. She and Zelda clean and are generally disregarded by the white male scientists around them (unless they’re being propositioned or condescended to or threatened, of course – which does happen, fair warning). And then, very early on, we’re introduced to the fishman (played of course by Doug Jones), a recent acquisition accompanied by his security officer Strickland (Michael Shannon, loathsome and menacing as always).

Elisa is fascinated by him immediately, as is facility scientist Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), but of course there are sinister plots afoot that must be dealt with. Elisa is also friends with her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), a delightful aging gay man, and he gets involved in things too. But beyond that I don’t know that I can really say much about the story? It’s more or less the story you expect. It’s a love story. It’s a Cold War story. It’s a little mysterious and magical. It’s worth experiencing, though, because even if you expect it you won’t be able to expect how utterly delightful it is.

–your fangirl heroines.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: her thoughts on Lady Bird

26 Nov

(I saw it too, and echo this. I just wanted her to phrase things because she felt them more articulately.)

I don’t want to say too much about this movie, because I don’t think it’s the kind of movie you should talk too much about. It doesn’t have a complicated plot, or shocking twists, or flashy cinematography. It’s just a story about a girl and her mother in the early 2000s and how they talk to each other and hurt each other and lie to each other and love each other.


I think what’s most interesting to me about this movie is that it’s written by someone – Greta Gerwig, also the director – who so clearly remembers being a teenager. I’ve been reading a lot of young adult novels recently, and there are some that I do finish, but that grate on me because they sound too much like An Adult Writing a Teenager. My favorite kinds of stories with teeangers are stories where teenagers say horrible things, make huge mistakes, and are the narrative doesn’t excuse or coddle them. The thing about teenagers is that many of them are very smart, and say very smart and/or very frank things, but they will also think, say, and do some truly terrible or stupid things. (A quick plug here: two of the best novels I’ve read recently that capture what terrific fuckups teens can be, while still remembering that they are sometimes very smart, are Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy and Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.) Anyway. Lady Bird is an authentic movie because its lead character, as well as some of her friends and acquaintances, say and do a lot of cruel, assholish, or just plain stupid things. But they also do and say some clever, kind, and profound things. The best kind of teenager-centric stories remember both of these elements and neither make teens into savants nor irredeemable assholes.

The name Lady Bird is one that our protagonist, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, has chosen for herself. We don’t see the process of her choosing it, or even where it comes from. It doesn’t matter. She insists on it, up to and including scratching out her given name on a call sheet to replace it with her chosen name. She and her mother fight about this, and about a thousand other stupid little things, and some bigger things too. (I really don’t want to spoil too much here.) I’m lucky to have a pretty good relationship with my mom, for the most part, but I could recognize elements in their relationship all the same. Both of them are headstrong, stubborn people who don’t really want to hurt each other, but who sometimes do it anyway because they forget to be careful or because their need to say something to the other is more important than thinking before they speak. It’s authentic in a way that I haven’t seen done in mother-daughter movies before – the handful that I’ve seen, I find sort of precious in a way that I can’t really stomach. (Brave is the exception here.) But in this movie, you can see how they try to love each other but don’t always succeed. It’s masterfully done.

I don’t think, at this point, it’s really necessary to point out that this movie absolutely smashes the Bechdel Test, but, well, it does. I think there are perhaps two scenes where men talk to each other? Almost all of the important relationships are between women. It’s very refreshing. However, this movie is very much about whiteness and white lower-class families – Lady Bird’s brother Miguel is Mexican and his girlfriend Shelly is black, and there are a few unnamed or briefly appearing characters of color, but for the most part it’s a pretty white cast. That’s fine, but it does influence the story.

Anyway. This is not really a movie that you need to know a lot about before you go in. It’s just a movie that you should experience. And if Saoirse Ronan doesn’t finally get an Oscar out of this, I will be very angry and never shut up about it ever.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok

5 Nov

So we’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while, despite the early announcement that not a single of our beloved ladies from the first two Thor movies – not darling brilliant Jane, not spectacular sassmaster Darcy, not even fantastically badass Sif – would be present. There are reasons (not great ones, but reasons) for this, but it’s still a bummer. We love them and pray that we have not seen the last of them.

That said, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Hela (Cate Blanchett) are about the best apologies that we could possibly have been given, and Taika Watiti as a director gave a film that was in general a beautiful apology, as well as a series of amendments and fixes and clarifications and extra bursts of joy and goodness.

But this is one of those ones where spoiling would be cruel because you need to experience this joy for yourself, so here are a few things that we can say that aren’t spoilers so much as just truths.

  • Valkyrie. Valkyrie is in the comics (AKA Brunnhilde), leader of the Valkyrior, a group of warrior goddesses who choose which mortal Asgardian worshippers who have fallen in battle will be taken to Valhalla, member of multiple teams including the Fearless Defenders, and Valkyrie is a big giant bisexual. Both Thompson and Watiti have verified that they filmed a scene of a woman exiting her bedroom to confirm this, and Thompson has said she was playing Valkyrie as bisexual, but it was cut pretty late into production. Alas. It’s still been put forth into the world and it’s true and we love her. She is also kind of a disaster person who has Fallen On Hard Times. That’s all I’ll say about that from the get-go but it’s important to mention. She’s delightful. Also, she’s putting on my absolute favorite kind of British accent, very South Eastern and lovely. And she is seen riding a pegasus. That is the most glorious thing.
  • Hela. Hela is the goddess of death. She is, mythologically, Loki’s daughter… but she is not in fact Loki’s daughter in this continuity because that would be just too odd. Hela is also completely batshit bonkers, and it’s clear Blanchett is having the absolute time of her life strutting and posturing and dramatically intoning and gesturing nonsensically. I spent most of the time before this movie affectionately calling her “goth swamp witch Cate Blanchett” and I am pleased to report that that is exactly what she is. Also, speaking as someone who has wanted her to play more batshit crazy witch-types since that infamous “you should not have a Dark Lord but a QUEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNN not beautiful but terrible as the dawn treacherous as the sea STRONGER THAN THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EEEAAAAARTTTHHHHH ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRR” bit in The Fellowship of the Ring, Hela is pretty much what would have happened if Galadriel had gotten ahold of the One Ring.
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is himself a lovely and wonderful man. He has been a lovely and wonderful man, and an infinitely lovable protagonist, since his mid-first-movie revelations, but now that he has spent enough time on Midgard to become a backtalking memelord he is unstoppable.
  • Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is also something of a memelord. It must be interesting to be a memelord and a meme simultaneously. This is not a pro-Loki blog, but this is a blog that nonetheless appreciates Hiddleston’s performance objectively if not what fandom has made of him. Also, he gets mocked, humiliated, and thrown around in a slapstick way constantly throughout the movie, which is really delightful.
  • Bruce/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is mostly the latter, but manages to be an engaging character regardless. I’m very fond of Bruce, which I think not a lot of people are, but Ruffalo especially brings an earnestness and sweetness to him that previous incarnations of the character lacked (even Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk, who I think was pretty good). The Hulk is more talkative than he has been in the previous films, having semi-complex conversations with people, while still being a giant green rage-monster. He and Valkyrie have a weird little friendship that is adorable. I understand why they’ve made the choice to sideline him and not give him his own movie, but I hope they keep letting him take second or third billing alongside other characters, because I think it makes for some really fun character beats. (Also drift partner specifically: oh my god there was a reference to Bruce/Natasha and I almost lost it right there in the middle of the theater how could they do this to me MY HEART GOODBYE)
  • This is a movie that is very clearly the product of Australian and New Zealander creators and performers. Not everyone is, obviously, and some of them are pretending to be not-British or some such, but it’s still very nice.
  • Oh, and Heimdall (Idris Elba) is a joy always.

–your fangirl heroines.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

15 Oct

So I will begin by saying: gosh, we enjoyed this movie. I mean, that should be kind of a gimme, considering it’s about the bisexual triad responsible for creating and inspiring Wonder Woman, who is a wonderful and kickass character and a feminist inspiration. But I went in expecting to go “oh, that was really good,” not necessarily to feel as many things as I did.

Here’s the thing. A lot of what I felt was deeply personal, and not necessarily the sort of personal I want to or can find words to describe in detail. There was a quiet beauty to this story and its telling, though, that I can explain.

Let’s start with Rebecca Hall, portraying scholar of psychiatry, wife, and muse Elizabeth Marston. I have always been very fond of Rebecca Hall but this performance was poignant and sometimes painful but thrilling. (I’m not great at award predictions, and I doubt this will garner the proper attention to secure her any nominations, but I’d be very much supportive of it if it did come to pass by some miracle.) She was this fascinating balance of caring and heartsick and abrasive and vulnerable and angry and just so many things, and it’s not just the “true story” aspect of things that made this character seem very real, real in a way a lot of female characters don’t. It was a thoughtful portrayal that was full of nuance and flaw and dimensions. Also, she’s gorgeous and incredibly electric to watch.

Bella Heathcote, as the student who became the Marstons’ lover and mother of two of the triad’s children Olive Byrne, was decidedly more openly caring and vulnerable most of the time and yet perhaps the figure with the most ultimate power in the situation. She naturally has a sort of unusual porcelain doll quality to her, which worked to her advantage here for certain (one of the first scenes is the Marstons discussing the psychological advantages or burdens of Olive’s physical beauty, which was itself fascinating). But she was also so, so good at the moments where more steel was required of her.

Luke Evans was the titular Professor (William Moulton) Marston, and quite good as well. I haven’t seen him in many things, but what I have seen has been… well, a Fast and Furious film or something, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from him. It was interesting to watch a movie in which he was the protagonist, technically, and the guiding figure of the story, but he as a character was quick to ascribe more importance to the two women in his life and he as an actor was quick to let the two actresses take the spotlight much more often as it suited. He was a framing device sometimes more than a character, but he was also, I must say, a very good ally. The construction of the story (scenes from the trio’s lives intertwined with an interrogation by, essentially, the old-timey morals police) provided him ample time to elaborate on his psychological theory and the motivation behind his creation and handling of Wonder Woman as a character.

But honestly, there’s a lot that can really only be experienced for yourself. It’s possible that it’ll hit some of y’all differently than it hit us, because not everyone is us (and let’s not mince words, I’m sure being Sapphic women made it hit us more strongly than it might hit others), but it’s small and beautiful and wholly worth it.

–your fangirl heroine.