Ms Marvel 2014

NaBloPoMo 2016 #14
Media Monday

Comic Review
No Spoilers

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Series: Ms. Marvel 2014
Issues: 1-19

Presenting the international sensation: the all-new Ms. Marvel! Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City – until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she also unlocks a secret behind them. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her prove too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! It’s history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways)!

This is a review for the entire Ms Marvel 2014 run, which is 19 total issues which I read over two days (praise the Lord for hours spent in doctor waiting rooms, I suppose) and yes, that sounds like a lot because it kind of was.

Move over Scarlet Witch, Kamala Khan might be my new second favorite super-her0 (behind Doctor Strange, of course) and she should be yours too. She’s funny, she’s energetic, and she’s just what the world needs. As much as I read, and as much as I try to read diversely, I’ve never had a Pakistani-American Muslim presented as a superhero who’s ready to save the day. (If you’ve seen this kind of character before, please tell me because I need to read it).

Kamala is funny, brave, and very relatable. She struggles to find a balance between her Muslim family and upbringing, the modern world she lives in, and the challenges of being a super hero. There are even a lot of Islamic phrases and terms used by the characters to provide an added layer of believability, but don’t worry about getting lost, whenever those terms are used they make sure to add in a definition.

The supporting characters are just as wonderful and diverse as Kamala, from her immigrant parents, to her hyper-religious brother (who is the kind of devout a Muslim should be, not an extremist which he, being a pacifist, is strongly against), her best friend Nakia, and her best friend and co-conspirator Bruno.

I don’t want to spoil any of the story line for you, but I will say that there are a few cameos from other famous marvel characters, but they never take the spotlight away from Kamala.

If comics are at all your thing, I suspect you’ll really love the new Ms. Marvel!

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Hail Caesar!

NaBloPoMo 2016 #4
Media Monday
Movie Review
No spoilers!

Hail Caesar! Is a comedy film by the Coen Brothers (who are apparently a pretty famous duo I’ve never never heard of, whoops) that was released last summer. I’ve recently decided that I want to see more of Tilda Swinton’s films, and this was the one I decided to watch first.

As a Tilda Swinton movie: It really didn’t have enough of her to justify watching it just for her.

As a movie overall: It really didn’t have much of anything.

Thoughts on the Plot

The plot was…. interesting to say the least. Actually, I lied, it really wasn’t. It was interesting in the sense that it was unique and I’ve never seen anything like it, however, not in the sense of “how interesting and captivating I’m going to watch it ever day!” I really don’t know what the plot was, and I’ve watched it twice in the last week in an attempt to understand it. By watching the trailers it appears to be a film about a lot of movie starts banding together after one of them, Baird Whitlock played by George Clooney, however, it is really about Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood executive who has been offered a job in an airline company and has to decide if he is going to stay in Hollywood, in a job he loves, or take the better paying and more prestigious job at Lockheed.

Thoughts on the Characters

The characters were by far the best part of the film, which did, as you can tell by the movie poster, have an all-star cast. They were an insane and colorful group, which by no means belonged together.

Eddie Mannix / Josh Brolin

Eddie was a rather boring main character, I never once doubted what decision he was going to make regarding his job, and I never once doubted that he would ultimately come out the ‘winner’ in all the minor problems he was dealing with.

George Clooney / Baird Whitlock

I’m one of those people, and it might be a generational thing, I’m not sure, who has never sat down and said “I want to watch a George Clooney film.” In fact, I can’t even name a movie I’ve seen in him other than Sharkboy and Lavagirl (and does that even count? Good movie, but very weird!). I have loved him in everything I’ve seen him in.

He plays Baird Whitlock, the man in the Caesar costume who gets kidnapped by the weirdest and most nonsensical villains in movie history.

Alden Ehrenreich / Hobie Doyle 

I’ve never, to my knowledge, seen Alden Ehrenreich in a movie before, but Hobie is one of the most charming characters, not just in Hail Caesar, but in all the movies I’ve seen. He’s just a simple, down to earth man who doesn’t quite belong in Hollywood, but who stays because he wants to help everyone in anyway that he can. He made me think of the man who lassoed a bike thief in a Walmart parking lot (funniest new story ever, by the way).

 

Scarlett Johansson / DeeAnna Moran

Scarlett Johansson is one of my favorite people ever – I mean, she’s the Black Widow! – so I was pretty disappointed by her lack of screen time.

DeAnna is an aquatic dancer and movie star who has just become pregnant out of wedlock, requiring her to either get married or find someone to take in her baby. She’s very blunt and more than a little wild, and one of the movie’s funniest characters.

Tilda Swinton / Thora & Thessaly Thacker

I probably would not have watched this movie if it wasn’t for Tilda Swinton being in it, so I was a bit disappointed by how seldom she actually appeared. She played twins, who never actually appeared on the screen at the same time, unless you count one storming off in the background as one approaches (I don’t think this movie used very much CGI, so every shot with the twins was done through trick shots and look-a-likes).

Thora and Thessaly are both reporters, who are always tripping over each other in order to outdo the other and get the best stories for the newspaper (there is no sibling love here, only rivalry!).

Channing Tatum / Burt Gurney

Channing Tatum is someone I’ve only recently become aware of, because of the rumor that he may be playing Gambit in the upcoming Marvel and Fox Studios X-Men spin off movie.  I wasn’t impressed, to be completely honest.

For playing the main(???) villain, he only appeared twice, and the second time he appeared he looked so different from the first time that I didn’t even recognize him as the same man.

Overall

It was a good movie, and parts of it were hilariously funny, however, its nothing something I’m dying to watch again. Perhaps if I knew more about Golden Age Hollywood I would have appreciated it more, there are countless posts online listing all the references throughout the film, which I only caught a few of. But as a normal person watching it for laughs and because she likes Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton, it was rather lacking.

The actors were superb, of course, it was the script and the (lack of) plot which frustrated me. They all had a rather unfortunate lack of screen time, which I suppose is a side effect to having that many famous people trying to get in recognizable parts. At the end of the day, I think this movie was exactly what it appears to be: a love letter to Golden Age Hollywood that is not meant to be taken seriously.

When the end credits started rolling, my mom and I both looked at each other and just said, “What did we just watch?”

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1

Media Monday
TV Show Review
Contains Spoilers?

This goes on the very long list of things that I was the last person on earth to watch, and I’m kind of ashamed by that.

Of course, its not entirely my fault, I’d never even heard of it until high school, and at that point I wasn’t about to buy all of it to watch. So after my best friend discover that it was available on Amazon Prime video I didn’t have any excuse not to watch it.

I had a hard time getting into it at first. Its entirely possible that I was tool old getting into it, because I kept thinking “well that’s not realistic!” and having a hard time remembering that, as a kid’s show, its not meant to be realistic. Once I managed to convince myself of that, around episode seven or eight, I had much more fun and really started to get into it more.

The Characters

One thing that I had heard about this series was how diverse it was, and I’m forced to agree with that. It was incredible. I really found myself getting into all the characters, even the villains (and I am not the kind of person who is typically interested in villains).

Aang

I really loved Aang, he’s such a sweet character and I feel really bad for him and just want him to succeed. He also has the world’s best pet.

Katara 

She may very well be the best part of the entire show. She’s so no-nonsense and won’t let anything – especially sexism – get in her way. But she’s not just a fighter, there’s a whole other layer to her, and she’s allowed to be weak at times, unlike many ‘fighter girl’ characters.

Sokka

At first I couldn’t stand him because he was just so sexist and annoying,

Zuko

He’s one of the best villains ever written and there were times I found myself cheering for him over the heroes.

Uncle Iroh 

I wouldn’t consider Zuko’s uncle to be a villain by any means, but he’s definitely a complex character and I can’t wait to see how he continues to be developed.

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Doctor Strange Animated Movie

Media Monday
Movie Review
Spoilers?

I’m going to start this review by saying, if you know nothing at all about Doctor Strange and you want to go into the upcoming MCU movie that way, you probably shouldn’t read this review. Most notably, his arch-nemesis is mentioned in this, and he is scheduled to be in the upcoming movie, however, they’ve not addressed that in the trailers.

Other than that note, this shouldn’t have any spoilers, because the storyline seems to be completely different.


I really love Doctor Strange, he’s probably (okay, definitely) my favorite Marvel Super Hero and I’ve been reading a lot of his comics lately. This movie is, if you’re looking for a way to get into the character, the best place to start.

The Pros

Possibly the best thing about this movie, was their interpretation of Doctor Strange’s best friend Wong. In the comics, Wong is little more than Doctor Strange’s servant (although, more recent comics, The Oath and Doctor Strange 2015 in particular have developed their friendship and given Wong a bit of spotlight), however, this movie is one of the first to expand upon that. The character in the MCU is supposed to be heavily influenced by that.

Mordo, Strange’s nemesis is also pretty well done, and while cliche, isn’t as cliche as he is in most of the comics. Dormammu, the main villain of the movie who is probably one of the most dangerous Marvel villains ever, is also well done and surprisingly frightening for a kid’s movie.

The animation itself is great, and reminds me of anime, although, with its own distinct style. Doctor Strange looks fantastic (I really love his hair, okay?), in fact, all of the characters do as well as the scenery. The magic is not only well animated, but also well explained and seems to have believable limits.

The Cons

I rarely have an entire section of a review of things I didn’t like, but this one really needed that, because there is one thing that this movie got horribly, horribly wrong.

Doctor Strange heals his hands.

I know that seems like a strange (see what I did there) thing to get hung up over, but I’ll explain why its such a big deal. Doctor Strange has never healed his hands in the comics. Never. Not once. It’s actually a huge part of his character and one of the reasons I love him so much. He’s not perfect, in fact, he’s proof that you don’t have to be a perfect, healthy person in order to make a difference.

Alright, its technically a lie to say he never heals his hands, but the comic that he did that in is considered non-canon so it doesn’t count.

He also, fun fact, suffers from PTSD (which wasn’t covered at all in this movie, but because its a kid’s movie, I’ll give it a pass) and I really hope that they’ll cover that in the MCU. As someone who has recently been told may be suffering from PTSD this means a great deal to be.

The Cloak of Levitation (the red one that he’s always shown as wearing) is never once shown to be sentient. It very much has a personality in the comics and it looks as though it will in the movie, so its a bit sad that the kid’s movie didn’t take the time to add in the character.

Overall

I do love this movie, and I will almost definitely watch it again before I go see the movie in November (and yes, I promise I will be reviewing that and I will be in costume). If you’re interested in Doctor Strange, and, if you read this far into the review I presume you are, you should consider watching it. Or if you’re afraid you’ll be completely lost in what is shaping up to be the trippiest movie in the MCU this will teach you the main players.

Spiderman

Media Monday
Movie Review
Contains Spoilers

Until about a month ago, the only Spiderman I had ever seen was The Amazing Spiderman as well as a few assorted episodes of I’m not even sure which television show. Needless to say, I was far from being an ‘expert’ or even a big fan. The idea of a nerdy superhero just appealed to me.

It was a pretty good movie. Predictable, of course, but good. Mary Jane was something new to me (I think she showed up in an episode or two of the Spiderman TV Series that I watched, but that’s the extent of my knowledge) and I absolutely fell in love with her. Honestly. She’s a great character (with a terrible taste in men). Harry annoyed me (so predictable) and my biggest complain – although this isn’t this movie’s fault – is that its almost exactly the plot of The Amazing Spiderman.

Oscorp guy does experiment on himself. Happens to have strange connection to both Peter and his love interest. Peter breaks it off with said love interest because its too “dangerous.” Uncle Ben dies at the beginning; some one else’s dad dies at the end.

Spiderman in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.

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RWBY Volume 2 Screening

Media Monday
Webseries Review

No Spoilers! 

As I mentioned on my review of RWBY Volume 1, the reason I watched the first season was because of a special screening that I was going to be attending with my best friend.

The Showing

If I had to pick the most insane thing that ever happened to me, I’d pick this. Because I don’t know how else to explain the insanity, I’ll be giving a play-by-play using the timestamps on the text updates I was sending my mom.

I literally woke up the next morning and had to get out my phone and look at the photos to prove to myself that THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

  • 6:40 pm
    • I arrived at the theater and met my BFF’s sister
  • 6:50
    • My BFF finally arrived and joined us.
  • 7:00
    • Credits start
  • 7:15
    • They start Volume one and we all get confused (because, remember, its supposed to be a showing of Volume two)
    • Someone leaves to get a manager
  • 7:20
    • We still don’t know whats going on
    • Someone else leaves to get a manager
    • We start laughing about it
  • 7:25
    • The screen goes blank
    • Someone from the theater comes in and says they think they can have it running in about 30 minutes
  • 7:50
    • The screen is still blank, so someone comes in and says we can watch Volume 1, and “as soon as we have Volume 2 up and running you can watch that.”
  • 8:53
    • Volume 1 is still playing
    • “Volume 2 will start at 9:30” – the manager
  • 9:42
    • Volume one is over by this point
    • “It should start in ten minutes or so” – the manager
  • 9:53
    • Someone starts playing music from RWBY (it has a pretty amazing sound track) on their iphone and we have an impromptu karaoke session
    • I have been forbidden from sharing the video of my BFF singing with anyone
  • 9:57
    • The manager comes back in and says “it will be a few minutes”
    • A man stands up and says “Sir my chair just broke” and holds up the cushion from the bottom of his chair.
    • We all laugh.
    • The manager looks so done with us
  • 10:00
    • My BFF starts using me as a pillow and her sister as a foot rest
  • 10:15
    • All hell broke loose
    • The man who broke the chair cushion was asked to pose with it
    • Someone offered him a sharpie
    • He signed it
  • 10:19
    • Other people start signing the chair
    • At some point a worker for the theater comes in and catches us signing the chair. He signs it to and tells the man – dubbed “Broken Chair Man” – that he can keep it.
    • We made a hashtag on twitter: #BrokenChairMan (I’m linking to it in case you don’t believe me)
  • 10:25
    • Someone started playing Taps on their phone
    • We held a funeral for the chair
  • 10:36
    • Volume 2 is FINALLY about to start (like, they started some quick previews and everything)
  • 10:40
    • My BFF’s sister leaves and makes her walk her out
    • A RWBY chibi episode starts and my BFF has to run to get back to see it
  • 1:18 am
    • It is finally over and we all head home
    • Broken Chair Man took the seat with him, I believe.
    • The manager gave us the contact info of Tugg (the company that sent them the wrong volume) so we could complain to them instead. I’m not sure anyone did, we had too much fun (and the theater gave us free refils all night to keep us quiet)

Volume 2

Volume 2 was much, much better than volume one, and if you’ve read my review of volume 1, you’ll know that I really, really loved it. Like, a lot. But volume 2 was much better. It had a more diverse cast of characters – everyone in Volume 1 was white! But not so in Volume 2! – and the background characters were fully animated, so they weren’t just black shadows.

The storyline was also much better, and even funnier (it starts with the most epic food fight ever) and it also managed to incorporate social issues (and my favorite teacher, Professor Ooblek, got a huge part).

Theres not much else I can say without spoiling anything, just know that if you liked Volume 1 this one is so much better!

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RWBY Volume 1

Media Monday
Webseries Review
No spoilers!

Rooster Teeth is a web-based company that produces a lot of interesting things – (nerd orientated) talk shows, game play throughs, and animated web series to name a few – and my best friend loves it. RWBY is one of her favorite of their shows and she’s been trying to get me to watch it for ages. She’s very proud that she finally managed (by buying us tickets to the Volume 2 in-theater showing (we missed Volume 1 because of school)). So before I could go see Volume 2 I had to see volume 1. Of course, I put it off much longer than I should have (I literally watched half of it the day before the special showing and half of it the day of), but I did watch it and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Rwby is available pretty much anywhere. You can buy it on DVD, blu-ray, or iTunes or watch it on Rooster Teeth’s Website (for free!), Netflix, or Hulu. I personally watched it on Netflix and I think that’s probably the best way, because then you can watch it all as one big ‘movie’ rather than watching it an episode at a time (because most of the episodes are only a few minutes long and I feel if you watched it that way it might get ‘skippy’ and you’d loose some of the continuity. But if you don’t have Netflix or Hulu, hey, its free!

The Plot

The future-fantasy world of Remnant is filled with ravenous monsters, treacherous terrain, and more villains than you can shake a sniper-scythe at. Fortunately, Beacon Academy is training Huntsmen and Huntresses to battle the evils of the world, and Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are ready for their first day of class.

Okay, so I need to be honest with you, and say, I did not read any summary, synopsis, or review before watching this show, which may have been why I, at times, felt that it was going nowhere (because I had no idea where it was supposed to go!).

The Characters

Ruby Rose

I thought she was the titular character, and I thought her name was Rwby, but no, as it turns out, RWBY is actually the name of her ‘team’ that shows up later, so her name is, in fact, Ruby (or Little Red Riding Ninja).

Yang

Ruby’s sister that I’m very fond of (except for one thing that I talk about down in the ‘animation’ section. She’s funny and protective of her lil sis (but also knows when to take a step back and let Ruby handle it).

Blake

Blake is a lot more than she seems, although, personally, I found it to be a little predictable.

Weiss

Weiss annoys me to no end, but I guess maybe she has some redeeming qualities? I mean, at least she’s cool and fights well. Even when she starts doing good things – like helping Ruby – its for her own good and so she can succeed.

Pyrrha

She’s basically Wonder Woman, actually. She’s got the shield and lack of social skills that WW usually has (if you doubt me, watch DC Super Hero Girls and you will no longer doubt me).

Jaune

He made me think of Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy in that he had no idea what he was doing, but he tried so hard to impress girls (and to help).

Cardin

Cardin doesn’t really become important until later, but he is a big part of the second half of this volume. He’s a pain and definitely my least favorite character.

The Animation

Its video game-style animation, which isn’t really a bad thing. Its pretty and it works for the show, but its not of the highest quality. It is low budget, but considering that its done by an Indie Company – Rooster Teeth – its great and it shows that a lot of care went into the creation.

The costumes are fantastic and I can think of very few things that have better costumes (maybe Pokemon, because thats what these make me think of) and it seems very anime-based. Everyone has big boobs and tiny waists, but thats true on every show, so I can’t count off points for that.

Another thing similar to video games, is that they have ‘aura’ that can be measured by ‘scrolls’ and tell you if you’re healthy or not (like the HP bar in video games). It even falls into ‘the red’ when they get injured.

My biggest complaint – animation wise – is Ruby’s older sister Yang. She’s pretty, yes, very pretty, but the animation on her hair leaves much to be desired. Imagine watching Disney’s Tangled if Rapunzel’s hair was always glowing and that would be what it feels like to watch Yang on-screen.

Overall

I really liked it even more than I thought I would. I knew I would like it, Bailey said I would and she has a pretty good idea of what I like (did I mention she bought me Mulan socks in return for going to this? She clearly knows what I like).

Its an excellent show with everything I like: fantasy, adventure, minimum love stories(unless you count Jaune/Everyone) , no love triangle, and (pardon my french) bad ass girl power. The best way I can sum it up is “if Superheroes were in the Fantasy genre, instead of Sci-fi.”

There are a lot of life lessons to be learned, about friendship and being a leader (some of my favorites are below in the Social Media section),

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