Tag: movies

How Captain Marvel won me over (the second time around)

Caution: spoilers below!

Buckle up boys, the girls are taking over! That’s right: on International Women’s Day, Marvel released the one, the only Captain Marvel. This will not be a review, but rather a reflection on what I took from the film and how it affected me personally. That being said, for all you who haven’t somehow seen it, buckle up and go see it now! For those who have already seen it, go see it again!

What I have discovered from my own viewing experience is that Captain Marvel is a movie that you need to rewatch to truly appreciate. When I first saw it in theaters, I sat there, not quit able to determine how I felt about Vers, aka Captain Marvel. The movie was set up as a prequel, so the audience, if they were up to date on the Marvel franchise, already recognized certain details and elements that in a lot of ways took the suspense out of the plot. The design of the movie was meant to highlight how Vers got her powers. We see her struggling to control her emotions as the Kree, the primary race of the planet Hala, keep reminding her that she needs to keep her emotions in check if she wants to see any action.

Due to the subdued nature of Vers’s character, I was left feeling unsatisfied in my first watch. Usually after watching Marvel films, I sit down with my own personal Marvel expert, being my father, who has raised me on these films. When we both saw it for the first time, we both were unsure about Vers and how she developed throughout the narrative. There seem to be something lacking about her, but after round two of viewing, I was really able find the depth in her story. I was able to, finally, really enjoy her character.

On watch two, I started picking up the beautiful nuances of Vers’s, or Captain Marvel’s, characterization. Vers had this sort of carefree attitude about her, even in the heat of battle– cracking a smile or making a witty remark. She would walk into a situation with confidence, knowing she was a power house, but she didn’t use her title or power to get her way.

She was a leader, like Captain America. And that, in itself, is where I think people get turned off by the character. People have this expectation that she will be a carbon copy of Steve Rogers: the man, the myth, the supersoldier.

The primary difference that I’ve identified is that Steve Rogers wanted to become a hero. He got dirty and fought side by side with his fellow soldiers in World War II. When superior officers tried to hold him back, he ignored them and stormed into battle to save his best friend. My dad kept pointing out that Vers wasn’t like Steve in this regard. She listened to the people who held her back and didn’t rebel like Captain America.

What I was quick to tell my father is that Vers was conditioned to hold back. In order to see the action she wanted, she was forced to listen to the Kree. There was no bending or breaking the rules. They had manipulated her into thinking that her powers where a gift from the Kree and that they could be taken away, so she remained obedient. Even Vers’s mentor and only friend told her to remain under the thumb of her superiors.

So let me ask you, What would you do if, in order to be like everyone else, you had to hold yourself back?

I asked my dad this question and he said he wasn’t sure, and that’s ok. I’m not 100 percent sure myself. But if I was being honest, I suspect that I would hold myself back just like her, because she truly believed in the Kree and in what they were doing.

The thing is, all Vers ever wanted was to help others. Despite having little knowledge of her past, she followed orders to a T, hoping that she could make some kind of positive change in the universe. Once she learned of the Kree’s true evil nature, she didn’t hesitate in switching sides– in turning around and fighting back against those who stole her life and manipulated her memories. It didn’t matter that they had ben her only friends, her only family, for years on end. She fought for what was right.

Vers was no more. Captain Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, had arrived.

As I was watching the film for the second time, I found myself crying at a number of scenes that had originally left me with dry eyes. Whenever bits of Carol’s past were shown on-screen, my eyes would water. She was always shown being told to slow down– as a child and in the Air Force. The men that surrounded her doubted her ability even after she had, for all intents and purposes, proven herself. One guy in the film was even bold enough to ask her, “You know why they call it a cockpit, right?” But those comments didn’t stop her from getting back up, from pushing past the challenges in her life.

It was the scene where the Supreme Intelligence tells her she is only human, however, that really struck me. Because Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, is human. But the thing is, she was a hero way before she could  shoot photon blasts from her fists. Even when pushed to the ground again and again, she got back up again and brushed the dirt from her knees.

“I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my back, but what happens when I’m finally set free?”

That was the moment she became not just a hero, but a superhero. The realization that she wasn’t Kree, but rather human, was just another moment of falling and standing up once more. She allowed herself to be wild, to be messy, to be emotional and outrageous, and that’s what ended up winning the battle for the good guys.

Carol Danvers is not Steve Rogers. They are two different types of heroes, and two different types of people. Yet they are both human, and they both made difficult choices. They wanted to serve for the greater good, but they both got a bit lost along the way.

Captian America is one of my favorite heroes because I got to watch a boy become a man and a man become a soldier for his country. He was the leader the Avengers needed before Infinity War– someone who was willing to stand with his friends and sacrifice himself for the world, but now, the Avengers need Captain Marvel. They failed in Infinity War. They lost– they fell down. It’s Captain Marvel’s job to help them stand up again.

By Maggie Christianson

Stan Lee, Marvel Comics icon, passes at 95

This past Monday on November 12th, Marvel mogul Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. The creator of iconic superheroes like Spider-man, Hulk, Wolverine and so many more was beloved by generations—from adult comic lovers to young Marvel movie fans.

Lee began his career in the comic industry during a tumultuous time in the country. Starting at the Timley Comics company in the year of 1939, Lee began his career in the industry as nothing more than an office assistant. As time went on, he became more interested in comics, sticking with the publisher even when it underwent a name change in 1960. The new name of the company?  Marvel Comics. In an attempt to keep up with D.C. Comics after they received a huge popularity boost with the introduction of Justice League, Lee created the Fantastic Four, changing the comics industry forever. 1

Stan Lee also aided in the development of Captain America, one of Marvel’s most famous characters, who served as a hopeful symbol to the United States in a time of war. Lee was the writer who introduced the iconic shield as Captain America’s weapon of choice, which now acts as one of the defining characteristics of the hero.

Once Marvel comics made the transition to screen, Stan Lee was introduced to younger audiences through a number of cameos—appearing in nearly every Marvel film as a random, often eccentric unnamed character. Audiences were always delighted to see him on screen, sometimes going so far as to clap during viewings when he showed up in the plot. Though his life has come to an end, his legacy will continue to live on as the Marvel franchise endures.

 

 

1 Source https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/stan-lee-creator-legendary-marvel-comic-book-superheroes-dies-95-n819371

Image Sourced at https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/stan-lee-hospitalized-hospitalization-1202685164/

Why We Need Love, Simon.

When I first realized I liked girls, I was only ten years old. I had been watching Teen Titans, a show on the Cartoon Network one Saturday morning when the character Starfire came on screen. She had bright red hair and an outrageously animated body, but the way her character spoke had made my chest feel warm.

Being a child, I shoved the feeling away to analyze at a later date, unable to recognize how much that moment would shape my young life. The time for analysis never came. Instead, I worked my way through middle school, developing crushes on girls in my grade, but all the same shoving the infatuation away because of course, it was wrong. Unnatural. After all, it was Rose that fell in love with Jack, and it was Edward that fell in love with Bella, and that was just the way things were.

The way everything was.

download.jpegRecently, however, the film Love, Simon has challenged this heterosexual status quo, the movie hitting theaters internationally, acting as a shock to the largely straight system of cinema. The film has earned mixed reviews from people both within and outside of the LGBT+ community. A majority of the reactions have been positive, celebrating the success of one of the first, widely released young adult films that features a gay protagonist.

However, some critics have picked the film apart, discrediting every cliche and dismissing every cheesy one liner, all the while posing the question of whether Love, Simon was necessary.

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In a society completely saturated with films based around teen stereotypes, it surprises me that only now is the necessity of high school rom coms called into question. Films such as Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, and Ten Things I Hate About You, which all feature heterosexual, high school couples, have had the honor of becoming classics among the millennial generation.

Yet, now that a film of the same formula has taken the box office by storm with a gay main character, Hollywood has suddenly “run out of ideas,” repeating the same narrative and pandering to “PC culture.”

I understand the frustration with Hollywood’s monotony. Love, Simon is by no means a cinematic masterpiece. At times, the writing heavily relies on stereotypes audiences may be tired of, and the use of clichés sometimes pushes the narrative right over the line of cheesy. But that’s what makes Love, Simon so crucial in the fight for representation. Finally, the LGBT+ community has gotten their own Twilight, just… with less vampires and more rainbow motifs.

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Image from Trailer Addict: https://www.traileraddict.com/blue-warmest-color/poster/1

To give context to why a film like Love, Simon is so important, it’s necessary to understand the current state of LGBT+ cinema. One of the most popular movies ever to feature a gay couple is the French film Blue is the Warmest Color. The movie illustrates a relationship between a nervous 18-year-old named Adèle and an older, free spirited woman named Emma, who is implied to be in her 30’s. Their relationship is taboo and secretive, which eventually causes a rift between them. Eventually, Adèle is left behind by Emma, and, with the love of her life gone, Adèle spirals into depression while her ex moves on to a more mature, stable relationship. To make matters, and the film as a whole, even worse, spliced between scenes of emotional manipulation and angst are vulgar, bordering on pornographic sex scenes between Adèle and Emma.

 

These distressing themes are commonplace within LGBT+ films. Characters tend to either be hypersexualized or broken apart, a happy ending out of the question. For a young member of the LGBT+ community, it can be frightening to look towards media for reassurance, only to be told that the kinds of relationships you may be looking for can only end in tragedy. Love, Simon takes these thematic elements, these pornographic scenes, and flips them on their head, instead creating a sweet but inspiring tale that seeks to empower teenagers who are just starting to explore their identities and sexualities.

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In fact, even members of the cast of Love, Simon themselves have been inspired by the film, the lead actor Keiynan Lonsdale (pictured right) coming out as queer just after shooting for the movie was wrapped. Reflecting on what it was like to play a closeted gay character, Lonsdale said to the Hollywood Reporter on March 16th, “Representation matters, and it’s just the truth. You watch something, and depending on how the story is told and how these characters feel to you, it influences your life, it influences how you feel about yourself and people that you meet.”*

Stories like Lonsdale’s unfold every day– kids coming out to their families and friends all the while never knowing exactly what kind of reaction they’ll get. Lonsdale acknowledges that he was lucky to come out in an environment that was so immediately accepting, though he admits that, regardless of knowing he’d be met with nothing but support, it was still a terrifying experience. Love, Simon was created with the purpose of quelling some of that inherent fear. By giving an honest, yet lighthearted look into the life of a gay teenager, Love, Simon has become an invaluable resource for queer kids who are terrified of making themselves known. Seeing the main character find peace in his own skin gives kids within the LGBT+ community an example to look towards, letting them hope for their own happy ending.

By Mimi Ottavi

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/love-simon-keiynan-lonsdale-talks-coming-set-1092851