Ant Man (Movie Review)

ant man movie 2015

This is a spoiler free review!

Well, I mean, considering that I expected to totally hate this movie, it wasn’t bad. I’m glad that I decided to see it in theaters, instead of waiting for the DVD. But I still definitely wouldn’t say that I loved it for anything, because even if it was an enjoyable two hours or so, it had a massive plot hole. So, basically, I have pretty mixed feelings on this one.

Really

I’m going to rant a little here. But first off, let me say that I absolutely love Marvel. I love the comics, I love the movies, I love the cartoons (except for Agents of SMASH).

FeministRants

But the comics are my favorites, and will be my favorites until the movies start to show some change. Marvel’s comics feature tons of “strong female characters”, and the true meaning of that word, not just the Tauriel who kicks-butt-and-says-little kind of strong female character. Almost all of the women in their comics have diverse views, diverse backgrounds, diverse goals- they’re three dimensional, and have a purpose to their storyline other than being a love interest.

So why are those characters always sidelined in the movies? Natasha Romanoff, a fantastic character, was reduced to a love interest and damsel in distress in Age of Ultron. Shadowcat, the hero of the Days of Future Past storyline in the comics, was relegated to helping Wolverine from a distance, so that he could achieve what was originally one of the biggest opportunities for women in comics. When creating the roster for the movie version of the Avengers, the women were the first to go.

So let me ask again: why are the women of Marvel so often sidelined in the movies?

RhetoricalQuestion

Unfortunately, Ant Man fell into this trap, and it fell pretty deep.

Before the movie even takes place, Janet van Dyne, AKA The Wasp- a HUGELY notable character who, in the comics, was a founding member of the Avengers and even named the team– was killed off. That alone was frustrating, but there’s more.

Janet and Hank Pym (the original Ant Man, who is still alive when the movie takes place), had a daughter, Hope. She had more skill and more motivation than the hero of the movie, Scott Lang, yet for some reason she was relegated to training Scott instead of putting on the suit and saving the day herself.

Now, the movie does have an excuse for this- that her father, Hank, doesn’t want what happened to her mother to happen to her.

But that seems like a pretty feeble excuse to me. If Hope was really as driven as the viewers are led to believe, then why wouldn’t she just take the suit? She’s a better fighter than Scott, she has more skill, and she knows that.

I don’t know. It didn’t make sense to me. But I digress.

Meh3

Aside from my… obvious issues with this movie, it was still pretty good. Better than I had expected, at least.

It was different from Marvel’s usual fare- less of an action movie and more of a heist/ spy thing. Most of the plot was spent in preparing for the heist at the end of it. So if you’re not really into super action-y movies, this one might be a good one for you.

It was also more kid friendly than a lot of Marvel movies. There was some bad language (but not nearly as much as, say, Guardians of the Galaxy), and a little bit of action, but other than that, it was pretty family friendly.

And it was funny! Not so much as Guardians of the Galaxy (at least, not in my opinion), but I was laughing most of the way through. There was a pretty memorable fight scene near the end involving Thomas the Tank Engine.

Aaaaaaaah

So, long story short, this movie was… okay. But considering that we could have very easily had a Wasp movie instead of an Ant Man movie, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated.

Just by scanning the Wikipedia list of Avenger members, a significant number of the Avengers have been women. Yet, so far, we have no female led Marvel movies, and the only one slated for the future doesn’t come out until 2018. By then, we’ll have eleven movies led by a white man named Chris (Captain America 1, 2, and 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, Thor 1, 2, and 3, and Avengers 1, 2, and 3).

So, considering how many fantastic female characters there are in the Marvel universe… why is it that we don’t have a movie about even one of them?

SexistAndAbsurd

I dunno. It’s something that really frustrates me- 90% of my favorite characters being constantly sidelined.

PowerfulLadies

So… sorry, but the more I think about this movie, the less I like it.

FeministKilljoy

2

2 out of 5 stars

Recommended to: casual Marvel fans and/ or people who won’t be as frustrated about this as I am, anyone looking for a fun way to spend an hour or two

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (Review)

So, a couple of days ago, I went to see Age of Ultron! I’ve been looking forward to it for months, and it definitely didn’t disappoint (which is good, because I’m not sure I could’ve handled it if it did). Anyway, here’s to the hope that this review turns out somewhat coherent instead of being a mess of excited squealing.

This is a spoiler free review!

AgeOfUltron

First off, it was really cool seeing the Avengers as a fully established team. It was great in the first movie watching them get together and learn how to work with each other, but at this point, they all knew each other well and played off of each other’s powers in really neat ways. That was pretty awesome to see- they were assembled as a team who knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to best use their abilities all together, instead of just beating stuff up on their own.

There was also some really good character development going on in this one as well. Like I said, everyone has changed a lot since the first movie- and they continue to change throughout the movie. We get to see the darker side of some of the characters, especially Tony, while we get to see the lighter side of other characters, like Clint and Natasha. Clint has a family, and Natasha opens up a little to- guess who- Bruce Banner.

Brutasha

I was pretty skeptical about the two of them when it was first hinted that they were going to get together in the trailer. I’ve always been a pretty big Clintasha shipper, but Bruce and Nat were actually pretty cute together. They’re both deeply broken people- good people with a very dark side. And, while I suppose Clint is the same way, I’m also pretty happy that they are just friends after all. It’s really refreshing in movies (and books, for that matter) to see a man and woman who are very close, and not in a romantic way.

Clintasha

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were excellent additions to the team. They were both really interesting characters, and their powers added a little intrigue to the team, especially Scarlet Witch/ Wanda’s. Among a bunch of other stuff, she was able to induce dream type hallucinations of a person’s fears, which allowed for some really interesting character building.

ScarletWitch

Also, Ultron’s dark humor was unexpectedly hilarious. Like, I didn’t really expect an evil genocidal robot to be funny but somehow he was and it worked? Unfortunately, it kind of ruined the creepy aspect of his character that you see in the trailers, but I think that in the end it was worth it for some of his fantastic one liners.

Ultron

Reallty, the humor in general was spot on, not just Ultron’s- Maria Hill’s “cough TESTOSTERONE cough” line made me laugh SO hard, and Hawkeye had some pretty funny quips about his role in the team as well.

Hawkeye

“We’re fighting an army of robots and I have A BOW AND ARROW”

The fight scenes were all very unique, so they didn’t really feel that excessive even though there were a lot of them. One of my main problems with the first Avengers movie was that the action started to get kind of tedious after a while and lost a lot of the impact that it could have had, but in this one, each and every fight was different in some way or another. There was also a really big focus on helping civilians, as opposed to beating up baddies, which was a nice change from the norm in superhero movies.

And it did a much better job at female representation than the first movie! Scarlet Witch was introduced, which, although it isn’t a huge step, really improved the male to female Avengers ratio. It’s still not great, but it’s better. And she was a very well written character, which I was pleased with. And there were plenty of more background female characters, too, which was refreshing, since background characters seem to tend to be male by default. Maria Hill also got a bit more time in the spotlight, which was great.

The main death scene (not saying who, because SPOILERS!) felt rather pointless and didn’t seem to have much of a purpose except for angst. That’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine- when authors write in deaths solely for the cause of making people sad (as opposed to story reasons). Who knows, though- it could be setup for a future movie. I do hope so.

Another minor frustration I had was that, looking back, it structurally, it was almost exactly similar to the first Avengers movie, meaning that it feels a little bit predictable. It isn’t much of a problem once you really get caught up in the story, though.

Almost exactly what I expect (and hope for!) from a superhero movie. Comic book movies seem to lose a lot of the glamour of the comics, but Age of Ultron felt just like it had just the right amount of action, humor, and interesting characters. Unfortunately, it feels a lot like a repeat of the first Avengers movie, and wasn’t really quite different enough to really stick out in my mind.

5

The Book to Movie Wishlist Tag

I was tagged to do this by Science, Books, and Silly Things– thanks!

BookToMovieTag

The rules:

Pick 5 books that you would like to see made into movies, and talk a little bit about why you picked those books. Then, tag 5 more people to join in the fun.

I’m usually pretty skeptical of book to movie adaptations. They’re two different mediums for storytelling, and so a lot of the time, book adaptations don’t carry over very well to the screen. I prefer for my books and movies to remain separate. But… even so, there are a couple of stories, characters, and settings that I’d really like to see carried over to the big screen- assuming that they were well handled.


PlaylistForTheDeadPlaylist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff is a story about a teenage boy, Sam, trying to find out why his best friend, Hayden, decided to commit suicide, using the playlist that Hayden left behind in lieu of a suicide note. It’s also about first impressions and how people aren’t always what they seem. It was a really good book (I may or may not review it soon), and although it wasn’t one of my favorites, it would be really interesting to see it adapted into a movie. I’d really like to see how Sam’s (and the audience’s) perceptions of people change as you find out more about them beyond how they look, and I think that would work very well with real actors onscreen. Also, music plays such a huge part of the story (I actually recognized most of the songs and artists they mentioned, which was a pleasant surprise), so it would be very interesting to have a soundtrack to go alongside with the movie.


The Raven Boys (and the rest of the series) by Maggie Stiefvater.RavenBoys It’s an urban fantasy of sorts based around Welsh mythology and- even more importantly, in my mind- the fact that friendship is just as important as love. I feel like the magic would carry over really well to movies, and I’d absolutely love to see that on the screen as well as on the page. I want to see Cabeswater! And Blue’s eccentric aunts! A movie might also encourage more people to read this lovely series, which would be totally awesome. And it would be extra incentive for me to reread the story, too, which I really need to do- but it keeps getting pushed back on my TBR list. Grrr.


CinderThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a series of fairy tale retellings set on a futuristic Earth (Basically. There’s way more to it than that). I think the fairy tale retelling aspect to the series works better in novel form, but it would still be really cool to see such a futuristic world on screen! It’s also a very diverse series (A futuristic novel not set in America? Whaaaat?) which is just an added bonus. We’d get to see a science fiction movie that’s not all about white dudes going on adventures in outer space. Also- I’d love to see Queen Levana on screen, and her perception altering powers! I feel like there’s potential for some really cool effects in that.


Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. MsMarvelI really, really love superhero movies (anyone who reads this blog probably knows that) but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re sorely lacking in diversity. The comics do a far better job with representation (generally speaking), usually. At least Marvel. I don’t know very much about DC or the smaller publishers and indie comics. But anyway, it would be super cool to see Kamala Khan in a movie (preferably one of her own) and it would really help Marvel step up their game when it comes to representation in movies, since she’s a Muslim teen and a girl. I mean, Black Widow is awesome, but she’s one woman on a team of six. It’s actually a possibility that Kamala will get a movie, but at least for the moment, it’s not very likely. We’re probably going to get Carol Danvers instead, and even though I love her as well, I’d still prefer to see a movie for Kamala.


FabulousKilljoys The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by Gerard Way. This one just barely made it onto the list- not because I don’t think it wouldn’t carry well onto the big screen, but because I haven’t actually read the comics yet. Before you scoff at me for adding a series that I haven’t actually read, though, I’d just like to mention that the comics are a continuation of a My Chemical Romance album and it’s accompanying music videos, which I am very very familiar with. The only reason I haven’t read Killjoys yet is because my library doesn’t have a copy, so I’ll have to buy it. I highly doubt that a movie would happen, especially after My Chemical Romance’s breakup, but it would still be really cool to see. The world of the Killjoys with its bright colors and punk rock was basically made for the movies, and it also has some really good, strong messages- especially the importance of individuality and speaking out when people are wrong, especially through art. And the soundtrack would doubtlessly be absolutely amazing.


I tag: A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts, The Book Hugger, Books, Tea, and a Onesie, Where Books Never End, and Clockwork Desires. Anyone else who wants to do it is also welcome to!

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Review)

FiveArmies

This is a spoiler free review!

I wanted to like this movie. I really did. But in the end, it all seemed very… well… meh. A mediocre movie wrapped up in a glittery package of epic fantasy battles and amazing CGI. I didn’t dislike it, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t anything amazing, either.

Meh

My biggest complaint with Battle of the Five Armies is that, for a movie that went out of its way to add more female characters, it had some pretty sexist moments. Tauriel had potential, but… in the end, she had no character autonomy. At all. There were moments when she tried to rebel and leave Thranduil, but in the end, it never actually worked without Legolas’s help. And her “big”, “defining” moment had no more impact on the film than the rest of her character. But enough about Tauriel. There were other female characters in the movie, right? Bard’s two daughters were also pretty frustrating. They ran around screaming and needed their brother’s help to protect them, even though he presumably has no more weapons training than them.

From a feminist perspective, there were probably two redeeming features to the story. First, there is a pretty awesome moment when Galadriel kicks some Nazgûl butt. It’s a pretty brief scene, but also totally awesome. The second is that, although the men try to send the women and children to safety at some point during the battle (I say ‘some point’ because the battle encompassed pretty much the entire movie and it all blurred together in my head), but the women are like “Heck no! We’re going to stay and help!”. So that was cool.

But really? No matter how cool those two scenes were, the movie was most definitely not feminist, and that’s disappointing. It could have been. It really could have been. Why not let Tauriel have a bigger effect on the story? Or maybe (heaven forbid) Bard could have been a woman in the movie. It isn’t like they didn’t already massively change the story in the movie from that in the book, and making Bard a woman would add a pretty major female character (with a much larger impact on the story than Tauriel). A real, actual, strong female character (which Tauriel is not). Or some of the dwarves could have been women. Or both!

But I digress.

FeministRants

The movie itself was… decent. It seemed really disjointed, and badly structured as well. Smaug was defeated much too quickly (like, ten minutes into the movie), and I feel like it would have been better to just get rid of him in Desolation of Smaug, then focus this movie on the battle.

Battle of the Five Armies didn’t feel like a movie in itself at all, really. I think it would definitely work better when combined with the other movies. It’s a conclusion, not a story.

Also, just out of curiosity, what happened to the Arkenstone? It was such a major part of the first quarter or so of the movie, and played a huge part in the trilogy overall, yet… it’s totally forgotten after the battle. We never find out what happens to it. The Arkenstone was a plot device, kinda like the eagles- it shows up conveniently, plays its part, and then disappears.

Meh2

I think Legolas was one of the best parts of the movie. He did… you know, typical Legolas stuff. Like, say, stabbing a troll in the head with his sword and then riding it around the battlefield, using the sword (still stuck in said troll’s head) to steer. You know. That kind of stuff.

Legolas

Okay, but seriously now. Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage’s acting was also great, and that also really improved my opinion of Battle of the Five Armies. Say what you want about the story itself, but the acting was well done.

But seriously. There were some really great moments between Thorin and Bilbo, whether you interpret it platonically or romantically.

But, I mean, overall…

SuperMeh

A mediocre ending to a good trilogy. I’d give it about 3.5/10.

Happy New Year: 2015!

NewYear

It seems like this last year went by so quickly… but even so, I feel like I’ve changed a lot since last year- and mostly in a good way. Anyway, to celebrate the New Year, I’ve written a (really) short story, which you can find here. I’m also going to write a bit about what this last year was like for me, what I’ve accomplished, and what I hope to accomplish next year!

Looking Back

Accomplishments

  • My school’s leadership team (which I am a part of) won a $2,500 grant for our school.
  • I helped to organize a school carnival.
  • I founded a school blog to help spread news.
  • My writing really improved once I started doing it more regularly than I had before.
  • I won NaNoWriMo!
  • I signed up for dual enrollment with my local college.
  • I started blogging more-or-less regularly again.

New tastes and opinions

  • I started reading comics and became utterly obsessed with Marvel.
  • I began to read a lot more YA fiction.
  • I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale.
  • I renewed my love of Disney.
  • I started listening to a lot more music than I had before.

Favorite books of 2014

Favorite movies of 2014

  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was just so edge-of-you-seat, and I loved the mystery aspect to it. And the big reveal at the end was amazing. I could probably fangirl about it for hours.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy was also amazing, even if in a different way. It was HILARIOUS, and the soundtrack was great.
  3. X-Men: Days of Future Past (although my feelings on this one are pretty conflicted). I’m really not a huge fan of the X-Men movie franchise any more, since it feels like they’ve messed up a lot of my favorite characters, but I digress. It was still a good movie.
  4. The Lego Movie. Judging by the previews, it looked like it was going to be horrible, but once I saw the actual movie, it was actually pretty good, and surprisingly cute.
  5. Maleficent was a really cool movie. A good story, interesting characters… but honestly? I think my favorite part was looking at all the different magical creatures.

Favorite songs of 2014

Oh No! by Marina and the Diamonds

Centuries by Fall Out Boy

Top of the World by Greek Fire

Salute by Little Mix

Let’s Kill Tonight by Panic! at the Disco

Looking Forward

New Year’s resolutions

  • Next year, I’m going to try to be more outspoken and stand out for myself. It’s a trait that I’ve always admired in other people, but I have a hard time doing it myself.
  • I also hope to move out of my comfort zone a little and try new things.
  • I want to improve my artistic skills.
  • I’d like to write more book reviews on my blog next year.
  • Finally, I want to make writing a regular part of my daily schedule, even if it’s one ten or fifteen minutes a day. My writing has improved enormously even from just a couple days each week… Imagine how much it could improve if I wrote every day.

Things to look forward to

  • Age of Ultron is coming out in 2015! The trailer was super awesome, so I’m really looking forward to the movie itself.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also set to release in 2015, looks pretty cool as well.
  • Winter, the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, also comes out in 2015.
  • The Night Vale book is also set to come out sometime in 2015.
  • Season nine of Doctor Who.
  • More Sherlock hiatus. Season 4 probably won’t air until 2016.
  • NaNoWriMo 2015. The YWP is also moving sites in 2015, so that’ll be interesting.

Anyway, happy New Year! What are your resolutions? And what are you most looking forward to?

What’s Up in the Marvel Universe

There’s a lot going on in the land of Marvel right now. I, for one, have been geeking out almost nonstop for the past week or so. A lot of this stuff is really awesome- for example, Marvel’s first movies led by a woman and a POC have been announced. Also, the Age of Ultron Trailer has been released and it is perfection.

So let’s take a look, shall we?
First off, the absolutely perfect Age of Ultron trailer I mentioned. Gaze at the glorious thing that is this trailer. Done? (I’m not kidding. You need to watch it.) Good.
First off, the creepy Pinnochio music in the background needs to be mentioned. *shudders* And poor Bruce on the jet.
But what I really want to talk about? BALLET DANCERS. If my memory serves me correctly, one of Black Widow’s covers back when she was with the Red Room was as a ballet dancer. So does this mean that we get to see more backstory for Nat in the Cinematic Universe? Let’s hope so.
Second, we got a full list of all the movies for Phase Three! For those of you who aren’t IN the Marvel fandom and are more like casual bystanders, the Marvel movies are set up in “phases”. Phase One was everything up to The Avengers, and Phase Two will include everything between Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man.
No Black Widow movie, unfortunately- but look what we do get! Carol Danvers AND Black Panther! DC did beat Marvel to the punch with Wonder Woman and Cyborg, but honestly, I’m not going to complain. I’m just happy that these two major companies are both starting to introduce more diversity into their films.
So, anyway, here’s the list:
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Captain America: Civil War was announced. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, and Chadwick Boseman will star as Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther, respectively.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Doctor Strange was announced. Benedict Cumberbatch is in final negotiations to star in the title role.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Guardians of the Galaxy 2's release date was announced to have been moved up, and the logo was revealed.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Thor: Ragnarok was announced. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will return as Thor and Loki, respectively, but no other details were confirmed.
Logo for Marvel's Black Panther movie that was announced yesterday
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Avengers: Infinity War was announced. The movie will be split into two parts, with Captain Marvel and Inhumans released in between them.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Captain Marvel was announced. Plot and cast details are completely unknown.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Inhumans was announced. Absolutely no plot or cast details are known yet.
Pretty awesome, huh? I’m loving these gorgeous logos. Also, the introduction of Carol Danvers and the Inhumans means a future Kamala Khan movie is a possibility!
And, in miscellaneous-but-still-awesome Marvel news (yes, there’s more)…
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy are getting their own animated TV show on Disney XD!               First look at Marvel's animated Guardians of the Galaxy TV show
  • For those of you who haven’t heard already, there’s an alternate universe where Gwen Stacey got spider powers instead of Peter Parker. Well, Spider-Gwen (as she’s been dubbed by fans) is getting her own ongoing comic series! Also, several other fantastic Marvel ladies, including Gamora, Peggy Carter, and Silk are getting their own series as well. Marvel announces several new female led and written comic series, including Gamora, Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Peggy Carter, along with a YA novel about Black Widow!
  • The new Thor series (starring a mysterious woman as the new Thor) has started off with a bang. 
  • And finally, the amazing Natasha Romanoff is getting a YA novel! It will be written by Margaret Stohl (author of the Beautiful Creatures series), and will come out in May 2015.
So, anyway, I hope I haven’t missed anything (but I probably did)! What are you looking forward to the most?

The Winter Soldier Movie Review

This movie was amazing. Just peer, utter awesomeness. I’ve been wanting to go see it for a while now, but I never really got around to it until today.
And boy am I glad I did.
First off, just let me say that I’ve never been a huge Captain America fan. I mean, he’s okay, but… he’s never been very high on my list of favorites.
This movie has quickly zoomed to the top of my list of favorite movies. And my list of most feels-y movies, too.
But I’m sure you’d prefer it if I started discussing the specifics, instead of just ranting about how good it was.
The plot twists were absolutely amazing. Disturbing, but amazing. I love a good plot twist, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I really wonder how they’re going to handle the aftermath. I won’t spoil it for you, though 😉
Secondly, there were some fabulous one-liners, as I would expect of a Marvel movie. And some very gif and meme worthy moments, too.
Yes. A perfect description of my feelings for DC and Marvel
And then there were the Easter Eggs. Natasha’s arrow necklace. The way names like “Stephen Strange” were casually dropped here and there… The little things all added up.
The plot was gorgeously executed, too. I never felt like it was moving too quickly or too slowly- it was just right. And then the fact that it didn’t really end. HYDRA is still out there- cut one head off, and two grow back.
The stuntwork and CGI was excellent, too. The fight scenes were very nicely done. I especially liked the police chase with Nick Fury and SHIELD. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat. And anything with Bucky was very well done, too.
And the feels. There were lots of feels.
Why didn't this happen.
my feels
So, in summary. Beautiful movie. Lots of feels. And maybe I can come up with something bad to say about it later so this is more of a review and less of a “ohmygosh this movie was so cool” rant.
But probably not.
Seriously though.
And you’ve probably guessed by now that my rating is a 10/10.