Tag Archive: Captain America


I haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve been buried under work. I certainly don’t lack for contracts to fill my spare time, but I’ve also been busy preparing my house for a kitchen remodel; I’m significantly handicapped, so that’s even more trouble than it might otherwise sound. I just haven’t had the energy for blogging.

However, today is Marvel Day. No, really; it’s not just that it’s when Captain America: Civil War is out in theaters, it’s also the day that I seem to have seen several MCU movies over the years. Not just the weekend, but the day, May 6th. Not sure how that’s happened, but it’s what my Facebook memory feed shows today. The coincidence gets eyebrow-raising with the fact that I didn’t even realize this when I’d made the decision to take today off.

But taking the day off also means that I have the time to write up my thoughts on this movie — spoiler-free, I might add.  Continue reading

Editor’s Note: Welcome, once again, the lovely and talented Lori Janeski in another Novel Ninja guest post. This time, we present her debut fisk, as she decides to tackle the massive Social Fiction Warrior response to Avengers: Age of Ultron by targeting a particularly egregious essay.

I should add that Lori is Texan — and yes, even fisks are bigger in Texas. This one clocks in at over 13,000 words, enough for a good-sized novelette. Strap in, grab some popcorn, and warm up your mouse-using fingers, because you’ve got some scrolling ahead of you.

Enjoy!


If you ever want to learn how to make a complete and total idiot of yourself in front of the whole internet, just read this essay I found: “Age of Robots: How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie.”  If you’re not into being an idiot, you can go ahead and read it for its entertainment potential, because it is so utterly ridiculous, and yet trying to be completely serious and intellectual and failing miserably, that it will make you either laugh your head off, or crawl under a rock and weep for humanity.  Maybe both.

Now, the author, Sady Doyle, is allowed to have any opinion she wants.  That’s part of life.  I don’t have to agree with her, and she doesn’t have to agree with me.  But when you’re being this stupid while pretending to be smart, those of us who are not stupid have to say something to make sure you aren’t successful in convincing people that you are smart.  To borrow a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, “I respect your right to free speech, but not your stupidity.”

Omar

Normally, I try very hard to disagree with the argument, not attack the person.  This article, however, is such a piece of trash that my politeness went right out the window.  Doyle is so far beyond stupid that she has reached the status of “contemptible,” and doesn’t deserve a polite, intellectual discussion about the merits, or lack thereof, of Age of Ultron.

If you don’t want to read an angry article about how stupid someone else is, complete with the occasional vulgarity, then don’t finish reading.  Go elsewhere now.  You have been warned, so there better not be any nasty comments on the blog or Facebook about how mean I am.

Oh, and if you can’t guess, there are spoilers ahead.  I know Matthew has a spoiler graphic somewhere around here . . . aha!

Spoiler Warning

There.  If you missed that, you deserve your spoilers. Continue reading

MCU Expectations

In my review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I said that I had some speculations that I decided to cut and turn into a separate blog post. It isn’t just about predicting future plots, but there’s some of that too.

We all know that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a blowout success. Even the shaky installments (we’ll ignore Agents of SHIELD season one for right now) have been “bad” only in comparison to the top material. It’s also been successful at introducing these long-beloved characters to new audiences who may have known nothing about them or their stories. That’s impressive all on its own, considering the depth of the Marvel Comics storylines, many of which go back half a century now.

FmHC0Nk

It started with Iron Man, which updated Tony Stark’s story to fit a modern audience’s expectation. A great deal of the success comes from Robert Downey Jr., of course. He’s the Tom Baker of not just the role, but the whole universe; and one of the best things about it is that he’s also aware of how close he came to outright disaster due to drugs and other self-destructive behavior, and I firmly believe that this fuels the way he throws himself into the role. Not only does he know what it’s like to completely doubt yourself, but he clearly sees each day as part of a second chance on life. Continue reading

Avengers: Age of Awesome

avengers-age-of-ultron-alternateWas there any doubt that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a fun movie? Was there any doubt that the existing fanbase would love it? Was there any doubt that the movie would be a hit success? No, indeed. The only doubt was how good it would be on a scale of 6 to 11.

Rest your doubts. It’s at least a 10.9.

Note: This is not a spoiler-free review. However, unless you’ve been avoiding the trailers, you’re safe until you come to the big spoiler graphic. After that, you’ve been warned.

Superhero stories have traditionally been plot-driven. Things happen in a particular way to have a particular end, and that’s the only important thing. We all know how annoying that can be. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s horrible. However, the MCU has mostly stayed true to character-driven stories. There have certainly been ones where plot mattered more (Thor: The Dark World and Agents of SHIELD season one come to mind), and others where character and plot intertwined to the point where you don’t care that a story had to go this way to set up something later, because the characters still had their day (Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Of course, character-driven stories aren’t automatically better, because character without consistent plot is unsatisfying. Think of Iron Man 3, which was a fantastic movie from the perspective of Tony Stark’s character development, and rather sucky for the rest.

The first Avengers movie remained a shining example of a character-driven story, as Ross explained earlier this week. My biggest worry about Age of Ultron was that it might not live up to that standard. In point of fact, I think Age of Ultron actually exceeds its predecessor in that regard. While the movie actually lacks a little of the stand-up-and-cheer of the first, Age of Ultron is now a new go-to example for true character-driven stories.  Continue reading

Avengers Assembled

EDITOR’S NOTE: This guest blog is brought to you by my good friend and former college roomie, Ross Windsor (yes, a distant relation of those other Windsors, but they never invite him for tea). To whet the appetite for the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, he has a few words to say about the first Avengers movie from the perspective of a movie buff and filmmaker.


I suppose I should start by giving a *SPOILERS* warning, but if you haven’t seen The Avengers yet: STOP. Back away from your computer, go buy the movie, and watch it. Twice.

 

Photo 01 - Shawarma

 

Marvel Studios faced the relatively unique challenge of bringing together four major heroes from previous film titles, along with lesser (though still important) characters from those films, while making The Avengers stand on its own as a movie. Of the six Avengers, all had made their first appearances in one of the five preceding movies. In order for The Avengers to appeal to moviegoers who had not seen all or even any of the previous films, director Joss Whedon had to introduce every character as if for the first time. And due to the number of major characters, these introductions had to be brief enough to not bog down the story, yet compelling enough to grab the audience’s interest immediately. This sort of quick introduction is a fantastic and necessary technique for short films, but serves well in feature-length films as well, particularly one like The Avengers. Continue reading

The week isn’t over, but it’s just getting crazier. Aside from the “No True Fan” argument, publications like Entertainment Weekly (though the editors almost immediately retracted the hit piece), Salon, the Telegraph, the Guardian, and more, as well as numerous websites like Cracked and various blogs, have been saying over and over that the Sad Puppies campaign is vile, vicious, vulgar, and villainous. It seems that the campaign that nominated works by liberal, female, non-white, and gay artists did so out of a strong desire for a right-wing utopia dominated by straight white men. Who knew?

But I’m not going to get into that right now. I’m going to leave that up to others. For now, if you want my opinion on the subject, I invite you to look at my previous blog posts. In “Piers Plowman and the Hugo Awards,” I discussed the problem of putting a message before the story. I followed that with a look at those who argue differently, with “G. K. Chesterton and the Social Fiction Warriors.” Finally, after the Hugo ballot was released, I talked about the effort to deny the validity of opinions, and what makes a fan a fan, in “You Are All Fake Geek Girls.”

According to the trackbacks and referrals I’ve been getting, these are all considered moderate opinions, and as unbiased as someone who’s taken a side can get. I’m flattered, everyone, and I’m glad the posts have been useful.

However, unless and until more specifically writing-related topics come up, I’m leaving it there. I’ve been enjoying the extra traffic, but my focus here, on this blog, is on writing and reviews. I’ve said as much as I can really think of about that in relation to the Hugos.

. . . well, almost. I still have to get on to reviewing Hugo nominees. I fully intend to crank out as many reviews of nominated material as I can get before the end of July, when the final ballot is due. I already have non-spoiler reviews of Jim Butcher’s Skin Game (nominated for Best Novel) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie (both nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form).

But, for now, I want to talk about the voting process. Continue reading

agents-of-shield 3I was glancing at Hulu last night and noticed that Agents of SHIELD was back. I hadn’t been paying attention. Agents, which had started out with a huge ad blitz and big promises, hasn’t been delivering. The supposed “shocking mid-season finale” was so ho-hum I kept hitting pause to do other stuff, my mind wandering too much to pay attention.

Agents was promised as part of the MCU, but its interaction with the movies has amounted to very tentative fan-fiction. Our most clear connections, other than Coulson himself, has been one episode to deal with Asgardians and a couple of cameos from Nick Fury. Even the focus on SHIELD and Hydra has been lackluster, and I haven’t really been feeling like they were entirely the same as what we saw in the movies. I’d had some hope last year when they finally got out of the twiddling-thumbs episodes for the Captain America 2 tie-in, but the self-contained story has been so completely timid — as if the writers are unwilling, or not allowed, to do anything that can make changes with the MCU — that the show is still only reacting to the movies and not being a full-fledged member of the franchise.

Agent Carter was different in this regard. While it ought to have had the harder role, since it’s set in the past with no way to truly break new ground, it proved to be far more creative and bold with its events. What happened in that first season has to have an impact on the MCU as a whole; Carter can’t simply be ignored. Agents of SHIELD, on the other hand, is eminently ignoreable. They’re the clean-up crew — literally, in the case of the Thor 2 tie-in-that-wasn’t last year.

It’s been such a disappointment, that I really don’t have any effort left to give. I really only watched the episode in the hopes that I might find something interesting to blog about. I fully expected more of the same-old, same old. What I found, instead, was a departure from the typical fanfic style. If I my hopes hadn’t been dashed so many times so far, I’d actually be excited about the style change. As it is, I’m “cautiously not-quite-as-pessimistic.”

For once, Agents of SHIELD has something new to offer. For once, the show has become proactive. Whether this will in turn affect the rest of the MCU, I don’t know, but if not then it will be due to gross negligence, because suddenly we have a new story to tell.

Spoilers after the break.  Continue reading

New Lego SHIELD Helicarrier

This blog is usually about writing and stories, but it’s also about geek stuff too. Being a bit of a Lego fan, I like it when I find an excuse to bring out that particular part of my geek life.

Well, here’s a great excuse: this gigantic new Lego set modeled after the SHIELD Helicarrier from the MCU.

legoheli

Continue reading

If two highly-educated men are able to spend the time from midnight to 2am on a chat program dissecting a TV show, you know one of three things.

  1. It’s one of the best shows ever.
  2. It’s one of the worst shows ever.
  3. It’s a show with so much misused potential that those currently in charge should shut up and let someone else fix it.

Considering the show we were talking about is Agents of SHIELD, it should be obvious we’re talking about Option Three.

WARNING. Spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and “Turn, Turn, Turn” from here on out. Continue reading

Captain’s Orders

This is my spoiler-free review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you’ve seen the movie, you know why I picked that title. (The packed theater erupted into cheers at that particular Moment of Awesome.)

Captain America 2 sets out to raise the stakes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a tall order, and easily screwed up. The movie doesn’t screw it up. It succeeds, and it does so beautifully. Continue reading

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