owlmoose: (avengers - captain america)
Title: Public Service Announcement
Fandom: MCU (The Avengers / Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Rating: Gen
Wordcount: 588
Characters: Steve Rogers
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming (no plot spoilers). Set about two months after The Avengers.
Notes: My inspiration for this story is a bit spoilery for Homecoming, so I'll put my notes behind the cut.

Here are the spoilers )

Summary: Next time, Steve Rogers will be more careful when he agrees to lend his name and likeness to a project.

Also on AO3
---

Several hours into filming, Steve Rogers had to admit that this job wasn't the worst he'd ever done. )
owlmoose: (avengers - assemble)
I had been up in the air regarding whether I would see Spider-Man: Homecoming on opening weekend. Like many MCU fans, I've been resentful of Marvel's willingness to shoehorn the character into the franchise the second they got the rights back, especially in comparison to their mealy-mouthed excuses for not making a Black Widow film at the height of her popularity. Add in the annoyance at yet another white-dude-centric film and yet another Spider-Man reboot, and I was ready to put this film deep on the back burner. Maybe I'd see it later, like Ant-Man and Guardians; maybe I'd wait for video, like Doctor Strange.

But then. Despite his last-minute inclusion, Spidey was one of the best parts of Civil War. And then advance word came out that they weren't doing an origin story, and that they would follow up on Civil War's promise of Peter Parker as a legitimate awkward teenager. And then the early trailers were super-promising. Finally, the reviews started to come out so positively that T wanted to see it on opening weekend. So in the end I decided I couldn't say no. And you know what? I am really happy I did.

[twitter.com profile] kaytaylorrea put it perfectly in her early reactions: although the world doesn't need more white teenage boy coming of age stories, if we must have another Spider-man reboot, this was the best way to do it. Tom Holland may have just turned 21, but I 100% bought him as a geeky sophomore, torn between wanting to do normal teenager things and his desire to become a full-fledged Avenger, surrounded by other high schoolers trying to figure things out -- especially his best friend, Ned, who is a pure delight, and Zendaya, whose snarky, no-bullshit performance as Michelle made her a favorite character. Tony Stark's extended cameo adds just the right level of connection to the rest of the series without overwhelming the show. Adrian Toombs/Vulture as played by Michael Keaton is easily a top-5 MCU villain: complex, sometimes sympathetic, with realistic motivations, and genuinely threatening without feeling unbeatable. The third act fell apart somewhat, as third acts of superhero films often do, but the beginning grabbed me so, so hard that I can forgive its later flaws.

To talk about why requires some spoilers. So I'll put them behind a cut. )

I also appreciated watching a genuinely funny superhero movie that did not punch me in the face with gratuitous sexism and abusive relationships (I'm looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man), the comparatively diverse cast, and the hints of what might come in future installments. (Zendaya and Jacob Batalan (Ned) and Donald Glover had better be back, or I'll sit on Marvel's doorstep until they are.) And possibly the best post-credits scene in the history of post-credits scenes.

So: fun time, happy to have seen it. Happy that Marvel made it? I'm not sure I would go that far. But within the universe of choices that Marvel actually made (instead of the big picture choices I wish they'd made instead, I'm glad they went this particular direction.
owlmoose: (hp - monsters)
We saw it. It was fun with some issues, very much on par with the first movie. If you liked the first movie, you will probably like this one. A few unexpected twists in the story, along with many predictable beats, but that's not really a bad thing in this case. I'd say it's the MCU film that feels the least connected to the main movie storyline, although it might tie in more later, depending on what happens in Thor 3 and the next Avengers movie.

The main thing that mars this otherwise lightweight film is a theme of abuse that runs throughout. The movie revolves around family, both found and birth, which is usually something I like, but many of the relationships are abusive in one way or another. It would be one thing if I thought the filmmakers had introduced the topic intentionally, in order to make a statement, but I suspect that it was mostly accidental. Ana of The Book Smugglers wrote an excellent article on the abusive way that Drax treats Mantis, and that's just one example. Cut for major spoilers. )

I have other concerns about the movie (Mantis as the subservient empath was maybe not the best choice for one of the very few Asian actresses in the MCU; Gamora as the joyless scold, a role too often reserved for the only woman on a team; Drax's literal mind and lack of tact being played for laughs, when it was often hurtful toward Mantis and others -- I had that issue with the first movie, too, and as a result Drax is one of my least favorite MCU characters), but I don't want my comments to come off as relentlessly negative. As I said above, I had fun at this movie, and I look forward to seeing more not just in this franchise, but to see it drawing stronger connections to the rest of the series. Most of the cast is fun and charming, and I was particularly glad to see Karen Gillan get much more to do than in the first film. I laughed a lot (even as I was sometimes cringing), and the vibe in the theater was good, and it definitely brought the feels. So I do recommend it (unless abusive parenting is a significant trigger for you; then maybe proceed with caution).
owlmoose: (marvel - peggy serious)
Back in July, I took 15 Characters prompts on Tumblr, and wrote three stories, which I am just now getting around to cross-posting. Enjoy the wackiness; I know I did.

Title: Strange Bedfellow
Characters: Cassandra Pentaghast (Dragon Age)/Peggy Carter (MCU)
Prompt: "Fifteen and three discover a cat in their bed. Is it their cat? Did one of them bring home a cat? Is it a strange cat? you decide."
Notes: Bet you never thought of this pairing before. Bet you can't stop thinking about it now.

On Tumblr / On Ao3




Title: Gather Ye Lords and Ladies Fair
Characters: Cassandra, Bethany Hawke, Paine (FFX-2)
Prompt: 3, 13, and 7 at a Renaissance faire
Notes: Modern AU, of course. Title is a lyric from a Blackmore's Night song.

On Tumblr / On Ao3




Title: Insubordination
Characters: Peggy Carter, Natasha Romanoff, Carver Hawke
Prompt: Five and Fifteen are fighting viciously. Twelve steps in to break it up with a stunning revelation.
Notes: Set in the MCU, although don't think too hard about what timeframe. Let's call it an AU, since we're crossing it over with Dragon Age anyway.

On Tumblr / On Ao3

Podcast!

Jun. 21st, 2016 05:59 pm
owlmoose: (marvel - steve profile)
I went on a special episode of [tumblr.com profile] fangirlhappyhour to talk Captain America: Civil War and display my ignorance of Marvel comics characters. Give it a listen!
owlmoose: (marvel - peggy hat)
I just posted a article on the second season of Agent Carter to [community profile] ladybusiness. The second paragraph includes minor CA: Civil War spoilers, and of course many spoilers for the season throughout. Check it out!

http://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org/2016/05/18/closing-the-file-on-agent-carter.html
owlmoose: Closeup of Melinda May (marvel - melinda may)
Supergirl was renewed for season 2! Hooray! It will be airing on The CW, which seems like a better fit than CBS anyway.

Agent Carter has been cancelled! Boo! So much for my favorite show on television, by like a lot. Also reported today was news that the Bobbie Morse/Lance Hunter spin-off won't be moving forward, leaving Agents of SHIELD as the only Marvel show on ABC.

These two announcements came within hours of each other, so I experienced a bit of whiplash this afternoon. So disappointing. My dreams of a golden age for superhero ladies on television, shattered. Because of course we can't have more than one TV show about female superheroes of entirely different genres, tones, and target audiences. Meanwhile, we can have as many shows about white dudes who kill people but have lots of angsty manpain about it as we want. Goody.
owlmoose: (marvel - steve profile)
I suppose it's no surprise that Captain America: Civil War has provoked a lot of debate on the Internet. As a card-carrying member of #TeamItsComplicated, I've found all kinds of food for thought on all sides of the issue, and so I share some of my favorites here. Expect spoilers from this point forward, in both the links themselves and my commentary on them.

Spoilers and linkspam behind the cut. )
owlmoose: (marvel - steve profile)
Captain America: Civil War was an excellent Avengers movie -- much better, certainly, than Age of Ultron. It was also a great Iron Man movie and a pretty good Winter Solider movie. It was even, as some have pointed out, a much better Batman vs. Superman movie than the one we actually got. But was it a good Captain America movie? On that question, I feel like the jury is still out.

Cut for spoilers. )
owlmoose: (towel dog)
Eh.

I mean, okay, that's an overstatement, but I've never felt the fawning love for this show that we see in some corners of fandom, especially not in comparison to the other Marvel TV properties -- yes, even Agents of SHIELD, although I accept that one might be more a matter of personal taste. The first season was all right, this second season was all right, but both seasons made choices that actively bothered me, and I'm not convinced that either a third season of this show or bringing the characters forward into The Defenders will confront my questions and concerns to my satisfaction.

Anyway, here are my main issues, under a cut for all the spoilers.

Manpain and more manpain, manpain galore. Also the things I liked. )
owlmoose: (marvel - peggy hat)
My first official post for [community profile] ladybusiness is a look at the first five episodes of Agent Carter Season 2. Short version: a lot of fun, some great new female characters, maybe not perfect, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

I should probably have linked this here before it went out of date, with two new episodes this week, but better late than never? ;) I expect I'll have more to say once the show is done.
owlmoose: (marvel - jessica jones fractured)
I just realized that I totally neglected to mention here that I recently went back on Fangirl Happy Hour to talk to [personal profile] renay and [twitter.com profile] booksmugglers about the first season of Jessica Jones. Well, really more like "gush about", with a few minor criticisms. :) Spoilers throughout.

Listen here! Also links to download from iTunes and to all the resources we talked about on the show. And if you do listen, let me know what you think. :)
owlmoose: Closeup of Melinda May (marvel - melinda may)
Today, I am thankful for Jessica Jones, which I just finished. I thought it was excellent, and I hope they give her a second season. I will have more thoughts when it isn't 12:30am.

Also I am thankful for family, and turkey, and that the desserts I made all went over well, and that I broke wordcount minimum on my Dragon Age Reverse Big Bang (though there is still a fair amount of story left to go). And, as always, for all of you wonderful people, both those I've met recently and those who have been around awhile. Thanks for coming around and sticking around. :)

I hope everyone who celebrates had a lovely Thanksgiving!
owlmoose: (avengers - natasha)
Watched the first two episodes. Very promising start! Not a whole lot to say yet, especially without massive spoilers, but I'm looking forward to the rest. T is enjoying it, too.

Jessica is a fantastic character: dark, difficult, screwed up, but basically a good person -- not the type of lead role that a woman often get to play. She veers quite often into anti-hero territory, and although I'm on record as being tired of the brooding loner trope, seeing it in a woman is kind of refreshing. Also, the density of female characters is excellent, as is the variety and importance of the relationships they have with each other.

Kilgrave is possibly the scariest, most messed up villain I have EVER seen. So far, they seem to be handling the consent issues (as seen in the trailer) quite well, although I don't hold myself out as the last word on that. This is the thing I'm most hoping they don't screw up. So far so good.

I could raise some concerns, but for now I'm happy to just watch and see where everything goes. Maybe I'll go start another one right now.
owlmoose: (towel dog)
Seeing as I am an MCU completist, I'd always intended to watch Daredevil eventually. But I hadn't gotten around to it for two main reasons: the graphic violence and T's interest in the show, which existed but was low-priority enough that I could never convince him to sit down and start watching. But a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that the release of Jessica Jones is coming up, and I wanted to watch Daredevil first. So I bumped it up the queue. After checking in with T, who decided to pass for now, I watched the series over the space of a little over a week. Although I was actively unhappy about some of their choices, overall I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing a second season.

A collection of thoughts in no good order. Spoilers, long. )

Short version: good show with some caveats, worth watching if you can stomach the violence, and some really stunning "OMG did they really just do that???" moments. And now I am very ready for Jessica Jones (if you haven't watched the trailer you should really watch the trailer, although with a heavy warning for abuse and consent issues -- I hope the show handles that aspect well). T is actually interested in that one (mostly because he's impressed with Krysten Ritter as an actress), so keep your fingers crossed that I get watch it in a timely manner.
owlmoose: Picture of a beanie moose and a small brown owl (owlmoose)
I'm making good on my personal threat to attend lots of cons in 2016: I've now registered for FogCon (as always), WisCon (which I've been meaning to attend for a few years now and the stars finally aligned), and WesterCon (SE's suggestion; Scalzi is the guest of honor, and it's in Portland, which is a city I've always meant to spend more time in). So that's the first half of 2016 scheduled up.

I finally watched Daredevil. I'd been meaning to get to it for awhile; wanting to finish before Jessica Jones drops next month finally pushed it up the queue. Overall I enjoyed it, although I also had some issues. Some of the more pressing complaints are detailed in this Tumblr post ('ware major spoilers). I want to write a longer post about it soon.

Instead of other things I'd been meaning to read, I picked up the biography of Alice B. Sheldon (aka James Tiptree Jr.). I've never read any of Tiptree's fiction, but I've heard the bio is excellent, and so far it has delivered.

Finally, just because I haven't posted about it here doesn't mean I'm not caught in the full throes of a Hamilton obsession. If you've been wondering what the heck Hamilton is, or this is somehow the first you've ever heard of it, the short answer is that it's a Broadway musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast album was released a few weeks ago, and made available to listen online shortly before that, and half the Internet has been freaking out over it ever since. Here's a good primer (thanks to [personal profile] umadoshi for the link). If you want a taste of it without committing to the whole album (although it's free on Spotify), check out Miranda's White House performance of an early version of the first song. Warning for highly addictive earworms.
owlmoose: (Default)
Nailed it. Extremely mild spoiler. )

Also, because I want to start watching Jessica Jones as soon as it comes out, I finally got around to starting Daredevil today. Watched the first two episodes and a few minutes of the third. Promising start, although I'm glad it was warned how much more graphic the violence is than in most other MCU properties. That bit in the bowling alley to start Ep3: yeeeeesh.
owlmoose: Closeup of Melinda May (marvel - melinda may)
I took a break from the Marvel rewatch project because I had vague hopes that I might get in another viewing of Age of Ultron before wrapping up Season 2 of Agents of SHIELD. But when it became clear that Ultron wasn't going to happen before the premiere of Season 3, I went ahead and watched those last few episodes, then never got around to writing them up on their own. So my commentary on them is included below. Note that the following post includes spoilers for the first episode of Season 3. Content note, cut for spoilers. )

One of the common complaints about the first season of Agents of SHIELD was its focus on Phil Coulson as its main character. I had my own reservations about whether the character could or should anchor the show, and during the original broadcast airing I felt that at least some of my fears were realized. As a secondary character, I enjoyed Coulson very much -- he would walk on from offstage, be competent, and walk off again. It hurt when he died, but it was only a twinge, not a mortal wound. When word came down that he would not only come back to life but be the lead character on AoS, I was actively annoyed. For one thing, I'm not a fan of the "death is never forever" meme that permeates comic book stories, because death has no meaning when we know that it can be reversed with the stroke of a pen, and I was disappointed to see the MCU play this card so early in its run. But I was also frustrated because, in an extended Marvel universe with so many opportunities for diversity, they were chosing to make yet another media property centering around a middle-aged white guy. It wasn't surprising, I suppose, but it still disappointed me.

Except not really, because on rewatch, it becomes clear that Coulson wasn't the true focus of the show after all. The first two seasons of AoS tell the superhero origin of Daisy Johnson (aka Skye aka Quake), and almost everything that happens to Coulson in Season 1, and many other major plot points along the way, are in service of her story.

Cut for S3 spoilers and length )

A few more thoughts on the final episodes of Season 2:

No spoilers for S3 in here. )
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
I went back and forth on whether I was going to see Ant-Man in theaters. I knew I wasn't making an effort to go opening weekend, but other than that, it was up in the air. Then S mentioned that she was interested, so I decided why not, and I got together a group. We watched it last night, at a local theater that has a bar. Just in case. (For the record, I ended up not getting a drink -- the line was too long before the movie, and the showing ran late enough that the bar was closed by the time we got out.)

Short verdict: it was fun. I was entertained and amused. I'm sure I laughed out loud more times than at any other Marvel movie, including Guardians of the Galaxy. Paul Rudd charmed me, as expected. Michael Douglas set my teeth on edge a little bit, also as expected. (Which perhaps makes him an appropriate choice to play Hank Pym.) Evangeline Lilly was great, and I hope we see Hope Van Dyne in future films. Yellowjacket was yet another cookie cutter "titan of industry looking for power and revenge" type, as seen in the Iron Man movies, without the excellent acting of Jeff Bridges or Sam Rockwell to bring a higher level of interest to the character. (I was a little more intrigued by the former SHIELD agent, and I wish we'd gotten more on him.) But I don't expect much from an MCU villain who isn't Loki, at least not in the movies. (The "Agents" shows, at least, are much stronger in that regard.) The visuals and effects were very well done, big screen-worthy if that kind of thing matters to you. I'm actually sort of curious about the 3D version, and I never watch movies in 3D. At its core, Ant-Man is a heist movie, and I do enjoy a good heist movie. It was worth seeing.

But of course I have quite a bit more to say. There have been three main problems dogging Ant-Man since it was announced and throughout the development process: Edgar Wright leaving the project, the absence of Janet Van Dyne, and Marvel's choice to make an Ant-Man movie at all. And all three of these issues also appeared on screen, to greater and lesser degrees.

Behind the cut, for length and spoilers. )
owlmoose: Closeup of Melinda May (marvel - melinda may)
This next batch of episodes takes me up to Age of Ultron, which is of course just now coming out of theaters -- it's playing in literally one theater near me, and it's not one I can easily get to. And it's not out on streaming until September. Boo.

Anyway, the show. The thing I love most about this stretch is the discovery that the first two seasons of Agents of SHIELD are Skye's origin story. Spoilers, length )

Still haven't decided what to do next. But for right now, it's time to go see Ant-Man.

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