New-To-Me Movie Round-Up: March

Like February, I barely watched any new-to-me movies in April because of MCU rewatches and TV I’m currently consuming for various things. April will be different — I’ll be at TCMFF and consuming all sorts of goodies, I promise.

 

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Captain Marvel​​: Thought we’d show these boys how we do it. You ready?

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*WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS*

It has taken twenty-one films and eleven years, but we finally have a woman headlining a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel insignia flashed up on Nick Fury’s pager in the closing seconds of Avengers: Infinity War, we knew we were in for a treat. And she has not arrived quietly.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or are friends, you will know how excited I have been for the release of Captain Marvel. But not everyone has shared my enthusiasm.  Brie Larson kicking ass and looking awesome in the movie’s trailer was met with ridiculous criticisms from men. I read everything from “her voice is too soft” to “why is she so moody?” Most recently, Larson’s calls for more media diversity during her press tour were met with trolling, abuse, and a bewildering determination for this movie to fail before general release. However, all of these aspects have fed into the film’s message, because, essentially, Captain Marvel is about a woman facing the man (or Larson facing the men on the internet) and declaring “I have nothing to prove to you.” And Captain Marvel explores this beautifully.

For six years, “Vers” has been living on Hala as a member of the elite Starforce, defenders of the Kree civilization against their Skrull enemies. Her memory is sketchy; she glimpses her past life as a pilot, and her traumatic childhood, knowing that these are the keys to something more. Trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) to control her emotions and photon-blasting hands, he uses her strength as a weapon against her, insisting “control your emotions, emotions are weakness,” a mental shackle to suppress her full potential. In the real world, she would be deemed ‘uncontrollable,’ ‘difficult,’ ‘stubborn,’ and asked to ‘tone it down.’ Belittling powerful women appears to be universal.

The movie steps up in humour after Vers crash lands on C-53 (Earth) and meets a two-eyed Nick Fury. This intergalactic saga becomes a fun buddy comedy set in 1995, complete with grunge and pop soundtrack as more memories of her past life begin to take shape. Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have great chemistry, as do Fury and Goose, a ginger cat/Flerkin who, let’s be honest, steals the movie (I should write a post just on Goose, right?). I loved seeing pilot Carol and wanted more of that, just like I wanted to see more of Carol’s childhood on screen and more of her friendship with Maria Rambeau (the very underused Lashana Lynch). I am hopeful this will be explored and developed further down the line, especially now Carol has recovered her past.

The most powerful moment in the film occurs in the third act. Facing Yon-Rogg, who still addresses her as Vers, she finally shakes off his manipulation, casting off her given identity and telling him “my name is Carol.” It’s a victory for the women who feel they must make themselves smaller, not take up too much space, or are compelled to downplay their personality and abilities.

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s spin on Phase One era Marvel takes the MCU, albeit momentarily, away from the more overtly lavish movies of late, while the key message should not be taken for granted. Sure, it did not need to be verbalized quite so much, but its strength cannot be denied. I loved Captain Marvel, and can’t wait to rewatch. And I’ll very likely write more soon.

Additionally, it is very much having a Captain America: The First Avenger effect on me: the more I rewatch and reminisce about TFA the greater my affection grows, and Captain Marvel appears to be going in the same direction. There are striking similarities between both movies, and they both share similar characteristics.

In an interview with Polygon in 2018, comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose groundbreaking 2012 ‘Captain Marvel’ comic book series was the primary source material for the movie, said something that stuck with me for months and, in hindsight, is perfect about the film:

“Carol falls down all the time, but she always gets back up — we say that about Captain America as well, but Captain America gets back up because it’s the right thing to do. Carol gets back up because ‘Fuck you.’”

We see this on screen: Carol throughout the years falling and picking herself back up again. Nothing can keep this woman down. I cannot wait to see what she will do in Avengers: Endgame next month (the thrilling mid-credits scene was A TREAT!!!). Carol Danvers is here to stay, and she is will only soar higher, further, faster, baby.

 

 

 

New-To-Me Movie Round-Up: February​

I spent February watching fewer movies than in January. Ironically, out of the ones I did watch, many were either re-watches for work-related things, or they starred Melissa McCarthy and were directed by Ben Falcone (there was a season on TV). I intend to up my quota and get back on track during March.

 

New-To-Me Movie Round-Up: January

A new monthly series! Here are all the new-to-me films I watched in January:

 

 

 

Hello 2019

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2018 was “a year” in so many ways. Ups and downs, laughter and tears, dreams made and broken, and a renewed sense of worth. I made plans, formulated ideas, plotted with friends. If anything, I felt I took strides as a freelancer and wrote pieces I love and worked with some great editors, who I hope to continue working with. I have many interests, not just my academic discipline, and some of my long-term goals are based around these other areas.

This evening I created a Contentedly account so all my work can be found in a nice neat online portfolio:

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I hope 2019 brings good creative energy to channel all our hopes, dreams, and ideas. Here’s to a good year.

Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. — A Write Up

Like a huge chunk of the population, I am counting down the days until Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 hit the cinemas. Ok, we can re-re-re watch the almost two dozen films and various television shows associated with the franchise, but who wouldn’t want more? Who would refuse the opportunity to become an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for an evening? 

Therefore, on a cold, wet November evening, I was fortunate enough to have a run around the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at London’s Excel. It had been a long day, scuppered by train delays and appalling weather, but all of this fell away as soon as I set foot inside. 

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The exhibition is composed of a props, costumes, and interactive displays allowing you to try out and essentially become an Agent. This element of interaction, for me, is key to elevating this fantastic exhibition to something much more than a static installation.

All rooms are themed, and I was immediately captivated by the sight of all Iron Man suits on entry. This was one of my favourite rooms — maybe my favourite — the sight of Tony Stark’s numerous iron suits side-by-side is probably one of my favourite/most impressive cinematic displays I have seen exhibited. It’s endearing to see the suits subtly change, like a flip book or sorts, as you move back and forth between them; a shift from the tin can style suit that Tony welded together when he was captured during the first Iron Man film, to the Mark 7 of Infinity War. Although the opportunity to try out a flight stimulator was tempting, I couldn’t tear myself away from these magnificent figures. 

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The Captain America/Steve Rogers room was also tremendous fun, honouring his journey from the skinny bullied boy we see in 1940s Brooklyn to the strapping Captain we all know and love. It is, therefore, a very similar experience to watching The First Avenger — not a bad thing! — and the displays are tremendous. Plus, you get to sit on Cap’s Harley — who would refuse that?

However, I adored the holographic panels honouring the 1940s, particularly young Howard Stark and Agent Peggy Carter (my favourite). Images can’t quote capture those, so you gotta believe me not this one. 

Also on display are props and items from Black Panther, Ant-Man (including a wonderful hologram display!) as well as props and customs belonging to Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Vision. However, all sides are catered for, and fans of Loki are not left out. The “hall of villains”, including the Dark Elves, is also great fun. 

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Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N is a wonderful event, and well worth a visit. The beauty of this exhibition is absolutely the interaction fans of all ages will have with the show — sitting the bike, posing with Cap’s shields, experiencing flight, touching Hulk’s massive hands, and battling Ultron. I had a ball running around taking photos and getting “in character”. What self-confessed superhero wouldn’t? 

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Details, tickets and more information can be found via the official website.

A little more behind the scenes details (including footage of yours truly) can be found on my saved Instagram stories.