Road to Infinity War: ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (2008)

For the second chapter of ‘Road to Infinity War’…lets talk about the movie that introduced one of the most beloved characters in the MCU… THE INCREDIBLE HULK!

‘The Incredible Hulk’ is Marvel Studios second self financed film and its first film since ‘Iron Man’-coming out in the same year. It wound up making a whopping $263,427,551 


at the worldwide box office during its run, lagging slightly behind its predecessor. However, the film was left at a major disadvantage because it was made close enough to a poorly received rendition of the Hulk-one that made half the money at the box office- that it was bound to be compared. Only 5 years prior to the release of ‘The Incredible Hulk’, a film directed by Ang Lee and starring Eric Bana called ‘The Hulk’ was released to poor reviews, due largely to everything from its subpar CGI to its slightly cheesy construction overall.

‘The Incredible Hulk’ certainly improved upon several aspects of its former and made a place in the grand scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, albeit with little to contribute to the overall storyline but for a promising plot that was destined for obscurity-and a relocation of its main character. It has its strengths, but many weaknesses that I believe were greatly improved upon later on in the MCU. To be frank, the CGI was still not terribly well done.


‘The Incredible Hulk’ was directed by relative newcomer Louis Leterrier, who at the time was known best for directing the first two ‘Transporter’ films and soon become known for directing films like ‘Clash of the Titans’ and ‘Now You See Me’-neither of which I cared for at all. Sorry. Leterrier did reportedly push for Mark Ruffalo to play our buddy Bruce Banner, but ultimately Marvel wanted to go with Edward Norton. And then…they changed their mind? We’ll get back to that.

Zak Penn serves of the writer of this film-which comes as no surprise when you look at his history writing Marvel entities. He has written or contributed to everything from ‘Elektra’, ‘X2: X-Men United’, ‘X3: The Last Stand’, ‘The Avengers’ and several Marvel video games. He also wrote films like ‘Inspector Gadget’ and ‘Behind Enemy Lines’. His background made for a solid story, and he clearly knew how to write for superheroes.

Craig Armstrong is responsible for the soundtrack to the film- and by the time that he was approached to do this soundtrack he had already made a name for himself working with Madonna and on films like ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Ray’. Since then, you have heard his work in films like ‘Snowden’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’.


Edward Norton was well into an established career that is chocked full of dark and twisted fiction. Everything from ‘American History X’ and ‘Fight Club’ to ‘Red Dragon’ and ‘The Illusionist’ was living proof that Norton knew how to play eccentric and enigmatic leads-but what about a mild mannered scientist? Well, as it turns out, we didn’t get to see a whole lot of him playing Bruce Banner, the nerdy genius with a godly green copilot, and instead we saw him playing “skinny guy who runs an awful lot”. To be fair, we do get to see him do at least one science experiment in his dark and dank apartment, but the decision was made to skip over the entirety of Banners pre-Hulk life.

We did get the chance to see a Banner that was put under a hell of a lot of pressure, back up against the wall, but one who still had hope in his heart that he would be ‘normal’ again someday. Because we mainly saw him on the run, it often felt like it was hard to make the connection that we were watching Bruce Banner throughout the film. I did not feel very invested in him because I did not get to see him as he was in his normal human life before I saw him as a shy fugitive and a behemoth. He spends an obscene amount of time using super antiquated “secure” technology to communicate with Tim Blake Nelsons character through one step short of MSN slang and being brutally bullied for some reason by everyone that he works with. After thats out of the way, there is an awful lot of running and making eye contact with Liv Tyler.

Don’t get me wrong-he does a great job, and so does Liv Tyler- but aside from the tension between the two, I never felt passionately connected to either one. I wanted to love their love, but then they went and made Ty Burrell a pretty decent, freshly ditched boyfriend and I almost just wanted her to stay with him and let Bruce just go live in a third world country. I guess that it probably what happened. Never mind.


General Ross and his moustache was a really cool addition to this story, not necessarily because of his daughters involvement, but because he represents someone concrete who can be a thorn in the side of the Avengers and other such heroes in the future.

Hes that guy who has enough power to bring you down a peg-but he can do it all under the ospice of the government. He isn’t quite a supervillain, but he is basically at the top of the totem pole in his position. He can (and does) hit them where it hurts eventually. In the case of Bruce Banner, he makes it nearly impossible for him to ever come home unless he wants to be a science experiment for the rest of his days. General Ross believes that Hulk is a creation of the United States government, therefore it is his property. He goes so far as to manufacture a super soldier of his very own to take him down, which seems like a pretty insane thing for a person to do, but apparently he gets to keep his job down the road…so I guess it wasn’t a big deal?

Also, we MIGHT, MAYBE, POSSIBLY see Red Hulk someday?

Speaking of his super soldier, Tim Roth was a strong but very strange take on a huge Hulk villain- The Abomination. I never quite understand why he is so passionately motivated to destroy the Hulk, aside from the competitive, primal need to hunt- but even then, why allow yourself to be a guinea pig just to do so? He has no personal connection to the situation and yet he is overjoyed at the prospect of going up against a sentient brick wall? The obvious answer, of course, is that he was just plain crazy. The look in his eyes in most scenes is one that I can only describe as creepy.

One of those guys who gets to keep his job despite several registered complaints about death threats and intense, coffee and tobacco scented nose-to-nose confrontations. I couldn’t tell if General Ross fully understood that he was missing a screw, therefore he was disposable, or if he sincerely thought that he was a valuable piece of his overall plan. Ross certainly went on to eat his mistakes when his pet turned into a 10 foot tall crocodile man- but again- to very few consequences. Perhaps it was all covered up as part of Bruce’s immunity?

This barely qualified as a villain, but I SO wish that they had pursued ‘The Leader’ somewhere in a future film. Theres still time!


While it may sound like I mostly disliked this film, I really didn’t. It was fairly exciting and it had a lot of great Hulk scenes to show off-but it landed in a time where Hulk was apparently advanced enough to identify his lover, but not yet advanced enough to communicate in any way but smashing. There were some great little jabs at the comics and the character-like the purchase of the purple pants and a bizarre, borrowed scene under a rock in the rain. It has a great cast and it brought up a lot of really interesting questions and possibilities-including, but not limited to:

-Can Bruce EVER have sex? Like, does Bruce Banner have to be celibate forever? Or does he just have angry sex all the time because thats how he has learned to control himself?

-Did Michael Bay cast the hot girl that worked at the plant with Bruce? Who was in charge of their HR department? That girl was being straight up preyed on!

-Does Stan Lee have superpowers now?

-Where the hell are Bruce’s family, relatives, friends all this time? Does he not have any or have they all disowned him? It seemed so easy for him to just disappear off the planet.

-How many people died in this movie? It feels like a lot.

-Where was SHIELD hanging out while a huge, destructive, uncontrollable Jekyll/Hyde was running around the United States? Especially when there were TWO of them! This would have been a perfect opportunity to introduce him to SHIELD and gain a bit of recognition and trust with them before they come to bring him out of hiding in ‘The Avengers’

-Will General Ross ever manufacture the Red Hulk serum, or become the titular character himself? (I had a strong feeling about some comments that were made in a few episodes of ‘Jessica Jones’ were eluding to it- but I could be reaching.)

-Will we EVER see ‘The Leader’ or Samuel Stern again?

– Was that Tim Roths actual sweat? He was sweating an awful lot.

Overall, this film does not stack up to something like ‘Iron Man’ nor does it fare well against a lot of what follows it, but it is certainly an improvement on its previous adaptations and it set up a good base for the character going forward. The most positive thing that it offers is growth for Bruce Banner. He flees his home, lives off the grid in a menial job, learns to work on his physical and mental self, tries to find a cure for the Hulk and fails, and eventually uses his ‘other guy’ to his advantage. He comes to accept his fate, he finally gains some literal and mental freedom back and with that, he finally gains some control. He leaves everything behind. Now he can go forward and keep a low profile


POST CREDITS SCENE: This one is fairly short and to the point. General Ross is sitting at a bar, seemingly drowning his sorrows after a rough couple weeks of chasing monsters and alienating daughters, and a well dressed man enters the building. Its your friend and mine Tony Stark, and he has some shade to throw in his direction- scolding him for trying to continue the Super Soldier program that was “put on ice for a reason”. God Tony, you’re so clever. He puts on his business face and offers to help him out with his “problem” with one simple and brain exploding proposal. “What if I told you that we were putting a team together?”

“Who’s we?”

You know!

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Coming up next..Iron Man 2!


Road to Infinity War: Iron Man (2008)

I’m a little behind on this-but I had hoped to make this into my first ever YouTube video in the first few days of January and I have been sick ever since. This will have to do!

This is my first entry in a series about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one movie a week until ‘Infinity War’ drops and my face literally melts under the weight and potency of my happy tears.

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And so we start off our Marvel movie marathon on the Road to Infinity War on a high!

Lets talk….IRON MAN!

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. 2008’s Iron Man is one of the greatest superhero origin films, one of the best superhero films, one of the best action films, hell- one of the best films of all time. It is constantly changing position from my favorite film of all time to my second favorite.

Lets start with some background about the people behind the making of ‘Iron Man’

The film is directed by Jon Favreau- who has also directed films like The Jungle Book, Chef and Elf. He also serves as Tony Starks loyal sidekick and forehead of security, Happy Hogan. Fun fact: Jon Favreau has been a superhero sidekick once before-when he played Foggy in the 2003 Daredevil adaptation. But, you don’t need to watch that movie. I’ve almost wiped it from my memory. Almost.

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The script for Iron Man was written by the team of Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Fergus and Marcus have worked together as co-writers on Children of Men and the Expanse, while Marcum and Holloway wrote for Transformers: The Last Knight, Punisher: War Zone, and are signed on for a Highlander movie, a Men in Black spinoff film and two more upcoming Transformers films.

The score is composed by Ramin Djawadi, who has a plethora of credits under his belt, including Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans, Warcraft, Westworld, The Strain, Prison Break AND Game of Thrones. He reportedly composed the score on heavy guitar under the suggestion of Jon Favreau, later arranging it for an orchestra to get that rock star sound. Apparently, quick cameo Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine contributed to the soundtracks sound as well. And obviously all of my dads favorite bands contributed heavily to the soundtrack.

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About the Hero:

Robert Downey Jr was making a name for himself in the industry on shows like Ally McBeal and in films like Chaplin-when his life went sideways and he began to lose work and his reputation to legal and drug problems. Lucky for everyone, by 2001 he got by with a little help from his friends, like Mel Gibson. He started his Hollywood resurgence by starring in an excellent Elton John music video called ‘I Want Love’, then he starred in some really solid films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac and one of my personal favorites-Tropic Thunder. Iron Man was actually released the same year that Tropic Thunder was- which feels really bizarre to me. We’re all getting old, people!

So when he got the gig to play a superhero with only five months to gain 20 pounds of muscle, RDJ put more than his sharp wit and emotional range into the film. He sweat for it. This career rebirth-and his spot on rendition and creation of Tony Stark- made him a household name, and before we knew it- he was…well…basically real life Tony Stark. It goes down as one of the entertainment industrys greatest comebacks. Good job, Robert Downey Jr!

The Studio:

Marvel Studios first ever self financed film was the sapling that eventually became the epic Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a gateway drug consisting of a perfect blend of supreme acting, solid storyline and cinematic wonder. It was Jon Favreaus push to get Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark that is quite possibly the catalyst that propelled the MCU to the glory that it is today. Whats more, the commercial success (about $585,174,222 worldwide!) and the high quality of Iron Man was the perfect groundwork for an expansive and rich mosaic of comic book goodness- and its a good thing, because there was a lot at stake for Marvel Studios when they made this film. It was released the same year as The Dark Knight, one year after the Spiderman trilogy completed and only three years after the conclusion of the XMen trilogy. That put it up against some really stiff competition, and with a lot of characters that a large percentage of their potential fan base had never really heard of. It was also one of the first to integrate comedy into the mix!

So lets get into the nitty gritty details of what I believe makes this movie so great


Within 5 minutes, we learn exactly who Tony Stark is-a genius,billionaire, playboy…not yet philanthropist. We know that he is a spoiled brat of sorts-a rich, entitled, elitist genius with daddy issues who was basically a celebrity right from the beginning of his life. We see that Howard Hughes influence in his wit and his candor- we see that his mind works very quickly, like an improv comic, but he rarely breaks that act unless he is in the most extreme of situations.

Well, let me tell ya-

Crawling around in a warzone under attack by your own weapons, being kidnapped by terrorists who work for a bad guy called ‘The Mandarin’, locked in a cave under threat of death to build a nuclear weapon, building a relationship that you’ll never forget with a man that you forgot, all while strapped to a car battery that is connected to the worlds largest dermal piercing in the middle of your chest..well..I guess thats pretty extreme? Shit gets real- really, really quickly.

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PS: how did they patch up that gaping hole in his chest? I’m sure they have some crazy skin grafting tech already at that point but thats a really big hole and the skin is probably growing around it. Yuck.

Tony Stark quickly earns his reputation during his involuntary time at terrorist camp, as his brain immediately goes to work figuring out how to survive and how to outwit their captors. He does not even entertain the idea that this is his fate. His coolness under pressure and his focus, his drive, his intelligence all comes to a head building a badass mini arch reactor and a goddamn Iron monster suit IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!

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This movie, I think, more than any other, was incredibly successful in utilizing the OG look of the character being depicted. The plot that they put together was an absolutely perfect way to work in what Iron Man looked like in the comics since the beginning without it looking silly or nonsensical. It made complete sense with the plot of the film. The first time that you see that tank of a suit shooting fire and shaking the ground-its a beautiful thing.

This first film about Tony Stark also gives us a great insight into where his priorities lie in terms of his work, his company and his personal life. He sleeps with journalists, he dodges hard questions with fairly reasonable-but very detached-answers, and he shows very little regard for a single human being other than himself. Hes a bit of a megalomaniac. Okay, hes an asshole.


The original villain for this movie was reportedly going to be The Mandarin-which makes my mind drift away thinking of a world where we saw a real Mandarin villain in the MCU, but I can’t say that I’m disappointed. Obadiah Stane-played by the fantastic Jeff Bridges-was a great choice of villain for the purpose of this film- in that he is a threat to Tony himself, not necessarily a threat to Iron Man-because Iron Man doesn’t really exist until the end of the film. From the beginning we see Stane as an annoyed colleague, tasked with cleaning up behind Tony in the media, his shareholders and business contacts, but it is not until about midway through Iron Man that we see how truly menacing he is. You start to realize how intimidating that he is- from the way that he is able to live this double life and gain the trust of Tony and his colleagues, to his sheer physical presence. Here is this broad, bald man with a deep voice, a sweet beard and expensive suits- and you just found out that he is your enemy.

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Worst yet-he wants to steal the ground breaking, super heroic technology that you created and turn it into a big, bulky, scary weapon. Oh, and he also tried to have you killed. Dick.


The reason why Tony Stark becomes ‘The Iron Man’ is obvious, but the reason that Tony Stark becomes THE Tony Stark that we know and love is because he is a complex character-and because he played so perfectly by Robert Downey Jr. Tony is not necessarily a good guy when we first meet him. In fact, many people see him as a villain. Then, he becomes a victim. Suddenly, despite what a scoundrel he may be, there are much greater and far more evil forces at work, and he has been ignorantly involved in this evil for quite some time. The impressive thing about Tony is that he finds a way to overcome and defeat that evil using nothing but his brain.

And his money, I guess.

Unlike many characters that we have seen in the past, Tonys journey is mainly an emotional one-or one of personality. He becomes far more involved and more aware of the world and the people around him that he should show more attention to. He transfers all of his energy and his intelligence towards a goal or a mission instead of being a part of a soulless machine.

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He is motivated by his horrific experience, but he is also motivated by the threat to everything that he holds dear- his legacy, his company, his persona, his wealth, his only friends in the world, and most importantly-his work. Those are a lot of spinning plates from a guy who pretends not to care about anything but himself. Stane is a great threat to all of these, being so close to Stark Industries and the man himself. Tony just wants to fix things the best way that he knows how- by building something.


One very unique feature of Tony Starks situation is that all of this is happening to someone who is a very prominent figure in the world-not to an everyman, down on his luck type. His transformation affects a grand circle of people and a grand circle of operations around the world. He can’t just slip away and assume a new identity. Mind you, he did have the opportunity to lay low and a mixture of his conscience and his ego would not allow it. (ie the last 5 seconds of the movie)

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Because of his fame and his notoriety, this film is both a very intimate fight and a very global threat at the same time-and that is what makes it so compelling. The concept of using terrorism was also very topical and relevant at the time that this film was released-and it still is. In fact, it was the perfect time to tell a story like this one. Here is a man who has made his fortune on war, and now he wants nothing more than to prevent it because he did not fully understand his role in it. Now that he does understand, he cannot lay down and die for his own sake, but he goes the extra mile to ensure that he can fix as much as possible for the sake of humanity-and the sake of his fathers legacy.


So the story of Iron Man becomes a classic tale of good vs evil that happens to take place in a pre-superhero world-or so we think. The introduction of everyones favorite SHIELD agent is one of my personal favorite additions to this story. Seeing Coulson pop up every once in awhile, and knowing what it means that he is involved in this situation builds a level of excitement that is hard to ignore even after multiple viewings. Why did he want to know about Tonys suit? Why is he so motivated to get that meeting with Pepper? What is SHIELD up to right now? What else does he know? He knows something!

Lets be honest, he has a terrible poker face. I love it, but he always looks like he knows something that you don’t. Because he probably does.

Pepper Potts also makes her debut in this film, and her character is introduced with an unwavering sense of confidence and power in a prominent position where she is constantly babysitting a grown man and his massive ego. Her first scene with Leslie Bibb is a prime example of just how savage Pepper is. She is sharp, witty, she has conviction, she is professional, but she is a loyal and trusting member of Tonys circle on a personal level. Her role in his story is incredibly important- continuing throughout the MCU- and she serves as much more than just Tonys assistant. Pepper is badass. Although her impact is less prolific than someone like Coulson, she is still a very important piece of the grand puzzle.

I don’t know if the same can be said for Tonys friend and future co-pilot, not-Don Cheadle, but we do get a bit of a War Machine setup near the end of the movie, so, I guess thats something.

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Well this is awkward

So in summary, the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is-in my humble opinion-a triumph for superhero movies and one that truly stands the test of time. It launched an empire, it launched a CINEMATIC UNIVERSE the likes of which we have never seen before, and it lit the hearts of millions of comic books nerds on fire.

POST CREDITS SCENE: Remember when you saw this post credits scene for the first time? I do. I still cry a little when I see it.

This is one of the most blatant scenes to come, but at that time there was nothing BUT this. It had to be direct and it had to be effective. 10 years ago, we heard words that we would not soon forget from a man that we would come to love: “You think that you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark you have become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.”

What could be more tantalizing than this?

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Oh, maybe when Sam Jackson emerges from the shadows wearing an eye patch and all black, states that he is Nick Fury from SHIELD and that he wants to talk to him about the Avengers initiative? Yeah, probably that.


Movie Review: ‘The Last Jedi’


The Last Jedi has been called one word above all others- divisive. It is creating a red sea between all realms of Star Wars fans from the passive to the passionate. I-being more on the passionate side- was quite taken back by the negative response, but I took my time writing this so that I could articulate my takeaway from the film without adrenaline bias.


When I went into this movie, I had that familiar anxiety that I had when I entered The Force Awakens-except this time wasn’t about the anticipation of discovery and wonder-but it was the stress that comes with 2 YEARS of unanswered questions and a very intentionally misleading trailer. It was like waiting for test results. ‘The Force Awakens’ left us with a hell of a lot of big questions-many of which I typed out ahead of my viewing of ‘The Last Jedi’ to keep tabs on the rolodex of galactic quandaries.

The questions included:

Who the hell is Snoke? Why is his face all messed up? Where did he come from? Who trained him in the ways of the force-let alone the dark side? How did he rise to power in the First Order? IS HE DARTH PLAGEIUS!?

Did Captain Phasma actually go down the garbage chute?

Did Maz die?

Does it MATTER who Reys parents are? Is she an immaculate conception? Is she a Skywalker? Is she a Solo? Is she really “no one”?

What the hell happened on Jakku? Why is there wreckage from what looks like a battle involving AT-AT walkers AND A FREAKING STAR DESTROYER!?

Where in actual hell has force ghost Anakin been this whole time!? Why hasn’t he told Ben to stop killing people in his name when he was nearly responsible for ending the Sith himself!? Why hasn’t Ben Kenobi talked to him!? Are the Sith cut off from these entities trying to communicate with them!?

And the list goes on….

Now here lies the the real shocker of The Last Jedi: they answered almost NONE of these questions. At first, this left me with a really sad and unsatisfied taste in my mouth. I waited all this time and you won’t even HINT towards who Snoke is? AND THEN YOU KILL HIM OFF MID-MOVIE!? REALLY!?

Okay, so maybe I haven’t quite let go of some of my negative feelings towards this film. I felt a serious lack of resolution. By the time that the movie ended, I didn’t feel that a complete story had cycled through my system. That is my biggest, overwhelming critique of the film.

I wasn’t a huge fan of all the goofy creature breaks, either. The characters themselves brought a great deal of comedy to the table, so they seemed to push it over the edge.

When it comes to the story, I had many theories going into the movie, and one that I thought would most certainly be realized was about balance. The colors of the posters, the cut up dialogue in the trailers- it all seemed to point in one direction. I assumed that Luke had come to realize-as many of us have-that while the Jedi have spent all this time trying to cleanse the galaxy of the Sith in an attempt to bring balance to the force, that perhaps they were going about it the wrong way. When light rises, dark comes to meet it. So, there will never be a balance when there is always conflict. I thought that Lukes narrative in this film would be the resounding declaration that the Jedi must end in order for those who use the Force to come together in union against evil and war.

There were very clear moments where the story was heading towards this idea, but it was never spelled out in a clear and effective way. It had the potential to be so articulate and powerful, but it was drowned in metaphor and hyperbole. Luke simply said that the Jedi needed to end. They need to end. They just do. Kylo Ren himself knew that he would only find a peace of mind if he could level out his feelings towards both the light and the dark-extending his hand to Rey to join him in this mission-because she was searching for something as well.  She reacted with a blatant opposition that may be revisited in the final film, so I am glad that it was brought up. Perhaps we will see balance in the future, but it could have been streamlined if Luke had only explained to Rey why he felt this way. She is so strong willed and became progressively more and more confident by this point that she was ready for his guidance and vulnerable to Kylo’s influence. This was the perfect opportunity to show her a new way. Now, both the Rebels and the First Order are incredibly vulnerable. This may be the path.

Cool Hand Luke is clearly working through some ‘Castaway’ levels of solitude on his island of creatures and textbooks, but he comes through to flex his Jedi spirit and strength in a most unexpected and poetic way in the end. But was it necessary? It was quite lovely to watch him say goodbye to his beloved sister, but was this display simply for drama, or was it truly the best way to end the film? His appearance and his actions do give the rebels time to escape the barrage by distracting an out of control Kylo Ren, but otherwise it does little to diminish the war that will continue to rage long after he gets comfortable in his robe in Force Ghost Heaven. Perhaps this resolution was valid, considering Lukes mental state and his detachment from the Force for so very long. It did not feel solid to me at that time, and it stills feels a little weak.

It certainly produced a reaction from the audience in my seating of the movie, so although I was wise to what was happening (theres no way that he cut and dyed his hair before he left to save the Rebels!) it did conjure up some intense feelings.

It is also worth pointing out that Luke has gotten increasingly more sassy in his old age. Maybe Han and Luke had more in common that they ever imagined.

And now I’m sad.

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The new generation cast expertly dominates the majority of the narrative in ‘The Last Jedi’ and they are clearly very comfortable in their current stations and ranks of authority-some a little too comfortable (lookin at you, Poe!). Both Leia and Luke receive a generous amount of screentime as well, moving along the storyline with their leadership, wisdom, and quirky charms-but taking a backseat when necessary for their young proteges to take control. A new addition, Vice Admiral Holdo, was a strange dynamic in the mix of this story, because she was domineering and fierce, but the strange and unflappable pushback from Poe in her direction left me thinking that she was working for the other team until her final (EPIC) scene played out. It was a “will they won’t they?” type scenario that didn’t pack as much of a punch as I anticipated. Finns new partner in crime, the delightful Rose Tico, is a source of innocence and purity in a tangled web of darkness and danger. She truly represents the idea that ‘The Last Jedi’ drives home-heroes can come from nowhere, and they can come from anywhere-if they let hope into their hearts.

Leia was one of the biggest pleasant shockers for me-since her role was so large yet went without conclusion. I was happy to see her have the time in the sun that General Leia so deserves to have- and I was especially overjoyed to see her daughter-Billie Lourd- have so much screen time in the film. Whether or not they actually shared the screen for all of those scenes, she will always have that piece of work to commemorate their time together. It was a very touching gesture.

On a related note, I was in such a mess of giddy euphoria watching Leia use the force in a physical sense to save herself. I wanted to see her hold a lightsaber just once, but this was okay too. It was a little bizarre, but very angelic at the same time.


Overall, I was very pleased with my experience watching ‘The Last Jedi’ for the first time. It was action packed right from the start, full of great performances and absolutely boiling over with girl power. From Holdo to Phasma, from Leia to Rose, there were so many wonderfully diverse characters and role models for a new generation of Star Wars fan girls and boys to adore. I feel a great sense of pride and joy seeing such fantastic representation throughout the entire cast.

The film did not allow itself to be weighed down under the expectations of its predecessors, but it paid a lot of homage to all of its influences. It honored the past while setting up the future for greatness. It utilized all of its characters effectively- including the lovable droids- and by separating many of them, it allowed them to shine in their independence. I felt that there were many moments where there was a serious opportunity for significant impact, but that those moments were not always ceased. I felt very few heart pounding moments that I so longed for in this movie experience. There were some pieces that were less than necessary and could have cut down some serious run time-like the ‘Codebreaker’ shenanigans with a very random throwaway cameo from Justin Thoreaux in ANOTHER galactic hive of scum and villainy-and I can’t forget that very, VERY awkward milking scene.

‘The Last Jedi’ left the story wide open for the third film and left it with a lot of material to dig into. I certainly see where viewers are feeling disappointment towards this chapter of the saga, but I hope that we can all come together to appreciate all the wonderful things about it, and that we can remain optimistic for the final installment. In the end, we are one big franchise frantic family.

But seriously, if they don’t tell me who Snoke is…..

Patton Oswalts ‘Annihilation’ is a devastating delight

I’ve been a big fan of Patton Oswalt for a number of years- from his standup career to his many marvelous TV shows cameos (Agents of SHIELD, Parks and Recreation, Reno 911 etc)  and his voice acting (Ratatouille, Archer, etc). He has always struck me as a rare celebrity-one who is painfully planted on earth in a sea of stardom. Not that he isn’t a big star in his own right, with Pixar and Marvel credits under his belt, as well as several standup specials and a lengthy career on television- but there was always something about him. Hes the dude that I wanted to hang out with. Hes the guy who I would love to talk to with no bullshit.

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So when I found out that Patton had suffered a devastating loss in his wife-Michelle McNamara-a renowned crime writer-turned-cold case connoisseur and subject of many of his stand up stories- I was gutted. I don’t know either of these people, but when I see good people doing good things in the world who are hurting, it hurts.

Oswalt bravely took to the stage under the direction and support of friend and comedy vet Bobcat Goldthwait to spill out the contents of his heart in front of millions of people in his new Netflix special ‘Annihilation’. I expected to laugh, I expected to cry, but I did not expect the lasting devastation that I would feel in its aftermath.

He did not just touch on the subject of his wifes passing- he let us all in. The survivors guilt, the burden, the aftermath-all of it. About halfway through the set of witty observations and maturity testing metaphors, you can see a noticeable weight begin to take hold as he prepares to tell the story of the worst day of his life. I was so incredibly touched by the openness and honesty that this entailed, but so grateful to bear witness to it. It was a heavy gift that he offered to his fans, and one that surely was not easy to give. As I fought back the waterfall that was trying to form behind my eyeballs, I found myself suddenly painfully laughing- a combination of emotions that comes so seldom in life. The special as a whole is such a unique experience to give yourself- from its top notch comedy to its open heart confessions, and back again.

He may refer to himself as the guy who talks about dicks in front of thousands of people, but he is so much more. Patton Oswalt is still a big nerdy dad with a heart of gold, through and through.

If you watch one comedy special on Netflix today, this month or this year- make it this one.

To check out the late Michelle McNamaras work go to True Crime Diarys website, or check out her posthumously released novel “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”

Movie Review – “IT”

I have been a huge Stephen King fan for as long as I have been reading novels, but IT was the one that I intentionally avoided, because, y’know, clowns. Upon seeing the trailer for the upcoming film I decided that I would finally delve in and face my fears.

What I’m trying to get at is- I’m that “read the book first” asshole.

IT- the novel- really touched my heart. I became obsessed with how it made me feel to read it. It was a great surprise to find out that it is not only a story about harrowing levels of fear and horror in both the supernatural and natural sense, but it is a story about the romance, beauty and purity of young friendship. The spiritual connection between the “Losers Club” throughout as they deal with the pain in their own lives, as well as this haunting entity that is consuming their town is the primary focus of the story. I have never been on an emotional ride quite like it.

So, I went into “IT” with a blend of emotions that I normally don’t bring into my cinematic life- excitement and complete and utter fear. I don’t watch horror movies. I don’t like to be scared. I HATE gore. Despite all of that, I was seduced by the idea of letting this movie funnel through my system, almost like a cleansing experience for my fragile soul. There was a very good chance that I would walk away traumatized.

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IT was incredibly respectful and faithful to its source material in many ways, from the underlying themes, the makeup of its characters, and the childlike sense of humor and fear alike. The kids are charismatic (every actor is AMAZING), emotional and hilarious, the cinematography is gorgeous and very representative of the time period, and Pennywise was, well, terrifying. I was slightly less than sober as a security measure, but I was honestly scared at a level that I haven’t been in a long time. I was fucking scared, okay!? IT and actor Bill Skarsgard capture the oddball, creepy style of Pennywise that Stephen King created while perfectly conveying how terrifying the shape shifting demon truly is.

It appeared that many of the effects used in the film were practical, which really added to the retro feel and gave a lot more realism to the horror, creating visual scares that are a perfect blend of camp and creep. IT is a childs worst nightmares come to life, as it was meant to be.

As for any critique, there was a large volume of content left out from the 1000+ page epic that it drew from, but a huge portion of that material was focused on the psychological and physical violence that happened when IT wasn’t around. It also delved deeply into the forces at work behind the encounters. There was less emphasis on the evil enveloping the town of Derry itself, with more focus on the physical incarnation of its monster. I was surprised that the presence of the bullies of Derry were so dialed back-seeing as Bowers was just as much a villain as IT in the novel, along with Bevs father and Eddie’s mother. Bowers is psychotic and disgustingly racist,like his father, and his constant pursuit of the kids is heart pumping. The rock fight scene, for example, was dealt with in a rather passive way in the film, where it was originally a VERY tense situation-fueled by murderous rage. The storyline involving the bullies was essentially kicked to the curb, so although I was clearly rooting for them, there was little sympathy built up for the hell that these “losers” go through everyday. Though it was never acknowledged outwardly, the courage that compels these kids to take on a monster is meant to come out of their connection to the spiritual forces behind IT. Every action is one that is necessary, because they are being influenced, almost used, and the kids themselves can feel the magic of said forces guiding them through this story.   The strength of their bond comes heavily from the time that they spend being there for one another, learning to love one another, building an impenetrable circle by facing the Derry monster head on to learn more about it. That element was missing in many ways, but their actions spoke to these ideas.

Despite the absence of alot of material crucial  to the makeup of IT, the pacing of the film was thoughtfully structured to fit in everything that they intended to, and I feel that they effectively wound the story to their will. There was rarely a dull moment.

Now I can only hope that the next installment (or installments?) are just as satisfying. I presume that they will involve more of the missing elements in the coming chapters, like the specifics about what IT is. The ending seems to lend itself to the idea that we are not supposed to understand what IT is at this point, or what IT wants- only what IT is capable of.

All said and done, the one thought that continued to dance through my head as I was shaking and closing my eyes was simply “this is perfect”-and it was, for me. I wanted to see IT, and I did. I felt all of the emotions that I felt while reading it, and I loved it all the more for taking me back into that head space. It felt like something from Stephen Kings mind.

This sounds so bizarre coming from me, but I loved a movie about a killer clown. Now I just need a few days to be able to fall asleep again.

Review: Marvel/Netflix- The Defenders

srfIn the era of superheroes on the silver screen, the superhero team is a destination that no fan can resist the prospect of visiting. The movement of hero teams has come a long way since the X Men franchise, spawning the Avengers universe, Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad and the soon-to-be-released production of the first ever Justice League film. The Defenders may come up as small fish in a big pond in this world, but with a showrunner as massive and well respected as Netflix at the helm and a moderately strong foundation of solo origin stories, expectations were fairly high in my world.

Unfortunately, after Daredevil set a gold standard for what a graphic, no holds barred Marvel entity could look like, things began to take a downturn thereafter. Jessica Jones was a formidable achievement in assembling a mostly female cast in an incredibly dark story, but it suffered with characters getting screen time that I cared little for. Daredevils second season was given a mixed response from the general public, but I still felt the magic with both its exceptional heroes and villains, as well as its action. What followed was, needless to say, a downward spiral. Luke Cage was simply lacking- and Iron Fist proved to be so utterly mediocre that I barely got past the first episode.

Defenders succeeds in a few things, but unfortunately it only succeeds in those few things. The pacing is incredibly slow-taking at least three episodes (out of only 8) before the team “assembles” as it were. That coming together lasts a very short time when Iron Fist is separated both physically and emotionally from the group. The basis for their collaboration is to bring down the mystical, menacing ninja organization called ‘The Hand’. The danger is apparent only because we have seen their influence in past shows, but at no point is it clear exactly what the hell the danger is. They speak in nothing but cryptic and generic villainous phrases about “the plan” for the majority of the story, and there seems to be little urgency in executing said plan. Any life threatening situation involving a member of ‘The Hand’ comes down to them being somehow more stealthy, agile and impenetrable than the superheroes themselves. Again, there is little tension or danger to be felt in any real way on either side. The Hand doesn’t seem to feel much threat from the Defenders (they barely know anything about them) and they rely on their fearless leader- Sigourney Weaver-to decide their actions.

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As strong as Weaver is, her role in this show suffers from the same bland, cryptic, generic, threatening quips which result in her saying or doing very little aside from talking to Elektra, asserting her dominance and saying “the black sky” “the black sky” and “the black sky”. Oh, and “the plan”. Are they ever going to tell us exactly why the Black Sky is this once in a lifetime savior of all that is bad and evil, aside from the fact that she can kill loads of ninjas? The way that Alexandra talks about the Black Sky to the other members of the hand feels an awful lot like Luke and Obi Wan trying to convince Han Solo that the force is real. She seems to be this aspect of their spiritual or religious beliefs that only Alexandra believes in-and she took very little effort to elaborate on what exactly her place in this grand scheme was meant to be. This was a very vague and non-specific brand of evil-unlike someone such as Kilgrave-who could create absolute devastation in a single thought and whos evil was enough to make your skin crawl. I felt myself longing for the complexity, depth and strength in the character development and stories of Wilson Fisk and Frank Castle- dangerous men who took real action, held real relationships and felt real pain in defeat.

This lackluster dialogue issue doesn’t just apply to these boring villains, either. There was so very little substance in the conversations and back-and-forth between most every relationship in this show. I felt little connection to the shallow and simplistic script shoved onto a group of decent actors. I felt bored by it. This was most evident in every scene involving Iron Fist and company, where I saw a noticeable drop in the quality of both the acting and the writing-like they were still separate people writing for each hero.

The action on the show certainly stood up in terms of choreography and epic moments for each character to showcase their powers- but something was seriously up with the editing here. In the first couple episodes especially, the cuts felt so choppy and there was little flow to speak of. It was the most rushed, yet slow moving show that I’ve seen in awhile. Its like this show ran on an Agents of Shield production budget with Netflix level censorship.

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Not only are The Defenders up against this mysterious and widespread virus of an organization that has engulfed their own cities seedy underbelly as well as others around the world, but they have to contend with working around the law and remaining somewhat discrete to the general public. The element of the law-for most of this series- seems meant to be incredibly annoying and constantly getting in their way. Yes, it does make sense that the Defenders all have mainstream connections that assist them in their vigilantism, but often they served as a device to stall the real action from happening. There is also this pesky problem with Iron Fist, going around with the same dumb face all the time, being a pawn on both sides of the fight. This element of the story made sense, but with little personal connection to the rest of the Defenders, their worry for his well being never felt truly passionate.

It looks a bit like this, but mad.

As far as supporting characters go, there really was nobody worth noting aside from Rosario Dawson. She exuded more passion and delivered in a more believable way than most of her costars throughout. She served as a strong buoy with which to connect the islands of each series together-but I wish that they had taken the time to build their relationships through their connections to Claire, perhaps through Daredevils wanting to bring down both Fisk and the Hand. Perhaps I just wanted Fisk to be the villain. I miss Fisk, guys.

Now, for some good points.

One thing that I really and truly loved in the Defenders was their use of color. In nearly every single scene you will notice that the color palette of the environment has shifted completely either as a whole or around each individual character. Jessica Jones is always in front of-or engulfed in-purple. Luke Cage lives in a yellow tinge. Iron Fist-especially towards the end- basks in dark green. Daredevil of course, is surrounded with red. In the fight scene between Jessica and Daredevil, the room is a mixture of red and purple- almost giving away that Daredevil was about to pop up before the audience even saw him. That element was very clever and I felt really amused by it, almost distracted by it.

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In the vein of visuals, I was happy with many of the costume choices for the characters- half of which don’t really wear “costumes”. Luke Cage was almost always rocking either a bright yellow shirt or a hoodie with a yellow lining, so that it was always visible around his neck. Jessica basically just ran, fought and slept in the same infinity scarf, leather jacket and combat boots the entire time, while Danny adopted a dark green ensemble towards the end-exposed chest on display. Daredevil and Elektra were the only superheroes dressed like traditional superheroes at all-and I really and truly loved both takes on their classic attire. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense why Elektra was given such a strange outfit with which to serve as a living weapon, but I was happy with the look. I hope to see Daredevils suit connection branch out with his new colleagues!

Needless to say, in a world where the action scene is becoming more and more high quality ( a la John Wick) and writing for superhero properties can be as fantastic as we have seen in things like Daredevil, Logan, Deadpool, etc- it is truly unfortunate that Defenders came out to feel so very uncared for. Perhaps it was rushed. Perhaps there was never a great handle on the story. Maybe the collaboration between shows wasn’t there-because I didn’t feel a whole lot of it. Aside from some badass moments from characters like Stick and Daredevil, a couple of “hell yeah” fight sequences and a few treats for the fans, I felt very little love in this project.

What was meant to serve as the “climax” of this tale was an empty threat- because Daredevil already has a third season. Of course, I’m entirely curious as to how exactly those events played out- but I didn’t for a single second believe that Matt Murdock was actually gone for good. Thats how this whole “show renewal” thing works.

Why’Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ is the Modern Day Seinfeld

When I first started watching ‘Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ I had a tough time marathon watching a show so loud, so obnoxious, and so ripe with vial personalities. As time went on and the show gained more confidence-I began to see what all the fuss was about. I felt a familiar and comforting edge to this wacky production.

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‘Its Always Sunny’ is well loved for its obtuse and often self contained episodes, its cast of top shelf narcissists and its expert ability to make something from a show that is really about nothing. Sound familiar?

The show centers on a group of friends- Dee and Dennis Reynolds, Charlie Kelly and Mac- “running” an irish pub in Philadelphia with the help of their eccentric patriarch and financier- Frank. Imagine if the gang from Seinfeld had children and those children decided to wallow in their despicable, drunken laziness together for the rest of their adult lives.

The Seinfeld comparison doesn’t stop there either. Its not such a far stretch to compare the deranged Danny Devito to an aged George Costanza- formerly successful but brought down by his own transgressions. He wants to run the show at all times but he can’t seem to keep himself away from the gang-the only family that he really has. He doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks of him or his actions-whether it be his perverted views towards women, his disgusting and dirty lifestyle, or his strange friendship with Charlie.

Dennis-who believes himself to be some kind of lady killing genius- has a definite Jerry-esque quality to the way that he holds himself above his friends. (He might be an actual lady killer, as well. I’m only on season 10 so I don’t know if they’ve confirmed that yet.) In reality, Dennis is arguably the most intelligent one in the gang-but the fact that he knows that makes his dynamic all the more arrogant. He believes that he is capable of mastering anything that he tries, but he is just as lazy and self involved as his friends and therefore his conquests are always a failure.  Although Mac is technically the Jerry Seinfeld of this show, his attempts to be the alpha male are often overpowered.

Mac and Charlie are just…really dumb. So dumb. They are the most dangerous brand of stupidity in which they have no self awareness whatsoever. Granted, Charlie often shows signs of being a genuinely good person, but he is rather psychotic. Mac simply refuses to admit that anything but his beliefs are valid. He is like a living embodiment of a twelve year old internet troll.  Both of these guys could pass for very inflated versions of Costanza-ism from their sheer lack of intelligence to their delusions of grandeur, but I would akin Charlies physical humor and business prowess to Kramer and his high pitched yelling fits to George.

Dee might not have herself together quite as much as Elaine ever did, but she certainly has her flighty and egocentric tendencies. She holds her own amongst the boys, though it is well established that she is their collective punching bag. She suffers from unrealistic expectations in all aspects of her life, assuming that she is deserving of the highest quality of companionship and lifestyle despite the fact that she is a horrible human being herself. Unless you’re hot and rich, you are not spongeworthy. Though she often has storylines that would only be possible because she is a woman, over time she has been given more and more content to play with on the show. In fact, I would argue that she has done some of the most risky material. I can see Kaitlin Olsen herself going down the path of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her future. Shes that good.

The gang spends every episode ruining the lives of the people around them- as the Seinfeld crew did with their romantic partners, business owners and friends. What really drives ‘Its Always Sunny’ into overdrive is the simple fact that its main characters have absolutely nothing to lose but their false senses of pride. Everyone (aside from Kramer) was regularly employed in fairly serious jobs in the Seinfeld gang, so the most dire of consequences normally centered around their employment. The ‘Sunny’ gang own very little aside from their pub- which they never actually seem to be working in- and it is still unclear how any of them have money at all. The stakes are low and there is very little to lose- making the obscene nature of the show completely plausible.

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While Seinfeld touched on subjects like abortion, masturbation, birth control and the many facets of sex- ‘Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ has taken this cue and run it into the extreme. We’ve seen at least two characters in blackface, we’ve seen Dee have a baby for a transgender woman who Mac was in love with and still might be, and we’ve seen Frank and Dennis both have sex with the drug addicted waitress that Charlie obsessively stalks. Mac is homophobic but is quite possibly very gay. Dee dated and then dumped an army veteran. Everything that most shows might be afraid to approach- they knock you over the head with it-and it works. It is without fear. The same could have been said for Seinfeld in its time. It was edgy, a little silly and a portrait of white people problems.

All of this is pulled off by a cast and crew of amazing writers and improvisational wizards. If you’re not already watching it, get on it.

Album Reviews: Katy Perry, Lorde, Portugal the Man

Katy Perry – Witness

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Had I listened to this album based solely on the singles ‘Bon Appetit’, ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ and ‘Swish swish’ I would have been take aback. However, I was ultimately brought to listen to Katy Perrys new album because I spent a half sober night watching her have a one hour therapy session in a live YouTube video. Through listening to her spill her guts about the pressures of functioning as a human being in the chaos of international stardom, I have come to understand her better. Though I almost let the YouTube comments alter my judgement- it struck me as very sincere and very brave-so much respect to you, KP!

‘Witness’ hits a sweet spot between 80s and 90s dance pop, but somehow manages to sound modern. Though even the most upsetting song lyrics are backed by a catchy beat, it embodies the essence of Katy Perrys best assets-her unique voice and her clever, versatile songwriting. Her lyrics have taken a turn from the goofy and become more about urban slang (Swish swish bish?)-but her ability to capture and convey an idea in a song is still strong.

‘Witness’ shows its greatest strength with its soul-as it is also Katy Perrys most relatable piece of work. With songs that cover everything from self love to lost love, it feels mature. It feels open. It feels honest. There is plenty of fun and playful, but there is a lot of human behind all of that.

I may be gushing, but I really fell in love with this album in its entirety moreso than any of her previous. It speaks to me at this point in my life-and I’m sure that it will speak to many others as well.

Lorde- Melodrama

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Not to be silly, but Melodrama is a perfect title to define the vibe of this album- mellow and dramatic.

Lorde gracefully rides the hype train to an album that maintains her unique sound and boasts a maturity and class that justifies her recent once in a lifetime compliment from David Bowie in which he was quoted as calling her “the future of music”. No pressure!

‘Melodrama’ is a moody, vibrant portrait of a hot summer night in the throws of young relationships. It is poetic without being pretentious and it is wise beyond its years without losing its youth- which is a perfect description of the woman herself. Songs like ‘Sober’, ‘Green Light’ ‘Supercut’ and ‘Perfect Places’ are groovy dance anthems that meld perfectly with the brooding, introspective songs like ‘Liability’ and ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’. It is a journey through the ups and downs of love that is guided by Lordes soothing tones and funky beats.

If you were a fan of ‘Pure Heroine’ and the independently released songs that she has released since then-like ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ from the Hunger Games-you will take to ‘Melodrama’ right away. There is growth here, but there is no mistaking that you are listening to a Lorde record. She is such a rare talent who utilizes her deep vocals in a way that feels natural-and it rides the line between alternative and mainstream pop music in an interesting way. ‘Melodrama’-much like its predecessor-is a knockout.

Portugal the Man – Woodstock

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It was a breath of fresh air to finally have a new record from Portugal the Man-since our household has been playing their 2013 album ‘Evil Friends’ half to death in the past few years. Since then, we have seen a couple of random songs popping up-like the deliriously infectious ‘Noise Pollution’ and the equally as addicting single ‘Feel it Still’-both which made their way onto the album. With a short 10 song tracklist filled with their trademark falsetto vocals and hypnotic indie rock style-‘Woodstock’ is less rebellious than their 2013 album, but it is a perfect record to bring into your summer rotation.

While this blend of high vocals and upbeat tempos with an alternative rock edge is barely unique at this juncture-with bands like Foster the People sounding nearly identical-there is something special about Portugal the Man that I cannot quite put my finger on. Their sound has become more refined over the years-arguably leaning more towards the mainstream-and they have really nailed down their offbeat approach to putting together a song. ‘Woodstock’-like ‘Evil Friends’ is solid all the way through and keep your interest piqued with catchy riffs and choruses. You’ll feel good listening to this one.

Review: Wonder Woman

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Still buzzing from viewing Wonder Woman last night, I find myself in the rare position of being seduced by a film even after sleeping on it. The magic that I had hoped for in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and (slightly) Suicide Squad was finally realized in the passion project that is Wonder Woman.

Yes, of course, as a female as I went into this experience with a far different perspective than what studios may consider to be the “audience” for these films. Yes, of course I entered with my girl power flag flying. However, I went in as a woman scorned by a couple of disappointing entries in this ever growing universe of DC films. My feelings were very conflicted.

The great news here is that Wonder Woman was everything that I wanted, and more. It is a story of a woman sculpted from (genetic lottery winning) clay and brought to life by Zeus who leaves her utopian homeland of amazon warrior women with a strange man to help end Earths great war by killing Ares-the god of war. This mix of Greek mythology, historical drama and fantasy proves to be a winning combination in the hands of Patty Jenkins-known widely for her Oscar winning film ‘Monster’.

The film spends a generous amount of time in the hidden paradise of Themyscira showcasing the rigorous training, impressive agility and compassionate society that the amazon women embrace. Their culture is one of love, support, dedication, loyalty and respect-but it is also one that teaches every member of its community to be strong enough to fight for themselves. Literally. In this environment Diana is drawn to be a warrior like her mother and auntie Antiope (say that 10 times fast). Though she faces conflicting support from her family, her strong will and fighting spirit proves to be her most defining trait.

When Steve Trevor-a British spy escaping from a pack of German soldiers with incredibly important intel in tow-crash lands in Themyscira, Diana learns for the first time that there is a world outside of her own, and one that needs her help. Her motivation to rid the world of Ares evil influence is her driving force throughout this film-while love gives her the strength to carry it through to the end.

Though her relationship with Steve Trevor is certainly central to the story, it is not the type of love story which causes the lovers to sidestep their initial motivations. It gets tiresome to hear every man who she comes into contact with telling her how beautiful she is- but it reflects on the time period. Nobody wants to hear her, only to look at her. Despite all of the obvious jabs at her beauty, Dianas most beautiful and emotional scenes come when she faces evil directly in its face. Every combat scene is expertly shot, expertly choreographed and rivals anything else that I’ve seen on screen in a fantasy setting. Her physical capabilities are displayed with absolutely nothing held back-and it makes for some of the most intense and heart pumping fights in any superhero film to date.

Wonder Woman certainly has its flaws, but I was very impressed by the attention given to every aspect of it. From the accurately devastating portrayals of ground and biological warfare, to the care that went into its characters. Everyone in this diverse cast has an identity and everyone has their contribution to the big picture. Only the villains of this tale are one sided in their beleifs. The story is well paced and never dull, and it gives little screen time to the “fish out of water” tropes that it could so easily have fallen back on. Diana doesn’t learn how phones work, or learn how to walk in heels. When it comes to quality acting- Chris Pine was the star for me here. His portrayal of both a fearless and passionate soldier, as well as a man lovestruck by a woman with unflinching independence-is convincing on all accounts.

Of course, my most beloved takeaway from Wonder Woman was the woman herself. Her compassion is not weakness, and her heart is not her Achilles heel. She persists in the face of opposition and she will be silent for no one. She stands in the way of any danger-gunfire, gas or genocide. She is driven by the idea of peace and inspired by the women who made her, but she is never blinded by the past. She looks to the future.

She is a woman, and a hero, that every woman would love to be. I walk away from this film wanting to be a better woman for this world.
Sidenote: Wonder Womans theme music is LIQUID GOLD