day two books!

What March did not have was a lot of is blogging. There has been an awful lot of Life going on, much of it positive in nature, but still, there’s been a lot of it.

In March I:

– wrote a 5k proposal chapter
– wrote a short synopsis & 20ish pages of a proposal
– wrote a very tiny bit on the new book

…that is not nearly as much as I would have liked it to be. And I know for a fact that April isn’t going to be as productive as I want it to be, because we have major, major life stuff going on this month, but I suppose I’ll do my best to work around it. We’re down to our last ten or eleven days of 100 days of writing, so I’ve got to manage to get that in every day at least, and I joined Camp Nanowrimo, although that just looks like a disaster in the making, under the circumstances.

Marvel Movie Marathon: Iron Man 3: meeeeeeeeeeeeh.

This is the first of the MCU films I’ve only seen once, out of the 18, and it’s because my original feeling on the film, which apparently matches my rewatch feeling, was, “Meeeeeeeeeh.”

There were many things I liked. I thought dealing with Tony’s PTS was great and important. I liked that a lot. I loved Ben Kingsley. I LOVED SEEING PEPPER IN THE IRON SUIT AND I STILL WANT A RESCUE MOVIE JFC MARVEL JUST SUIT UP AND TAKE MY GODDAMN MONEY ALREADY altho I did notice literally everybody post-Tony who puts on an iron suit seems to instinctively know how to use it (Stane, Rhody, Guy Pearce whose character definitely had a name besides “creepy greasy haired dude”)…except Pepper. Pepper, who lives with Tony, does not know how to use the suit. Which sucks. But let’s put that aside for the other things I didn’t like.

God, I hated the kid. I hated the kid so much. Not the kid himself, he was fine, although he would have been 100% cooler and more agreeable to me if he had been a she which I thought he was in the first moments he was introduced, but the child’s presence at all just…I hated it. I mean, I can see the argument that the kid’s incessant questions forced Tony to deal with his trauma in a way no adult around him would, but I. hated. the kid. I felt like the kid was a cheap trick to earn audience sympathy and bleh bleh bleh cloy ugh agh i hate it. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate. Hate hate hate.

I also haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaated that apparently Tony somehow harnessed the Extremis…stuff…at the end to not only cure Pepper but also himself (I’m not sure it’s *said* in the film, but the implication is very, very strong, that that’s what’s happened), which means that he’s essentially created a universal panacea and…nothing is ever done with that. I hate that a lot. Because it’s big and important (and I mentioned this on Twitter a couple nights ago when a discussion of IM3 crossed my timeline seconds after we’d finished watching it, and, unbeknownst to myself, I was responding to someone Far More Famous than I am, and he replied to me (with “comic book science!” which is totally legit in terms of why they do what they do but is still ANNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOYING) and anyway for a while my mentions totally blew up and I was kinda O.O, it was funny :) and *mostly* the MCU is very good at following through on things, so dropping that like a hot potato just got right up my nose. She said, mixing metaphors in an actively painful fashion.

Also, this time I noticed there was a blonde woman reporter asking Tony questions and it *wasn’t* Christine Everheart, which makes me really sad, because she totally deserved to be in the third movie.

My favourite moment in the whole movie was, and remains, “Oh my god. That was really violent!” when Pepper went all Extremis Superhero on everybody’s asses, because I thought, “Wow. That was really violent for Pepper!” and I was really grateful and amused that the character recognized it too. :)

But yeah, no. I wanted so much more for Pepper. I want a Rescue movie, simple as that. Give me an all-female Avengers line-up. Gimme Rescue and Widow and Shulkie and Wanda and Wasp and I will be *here* for it, because…I want more, man. Me and goddamn Ariel.

Really, though, out of the…6? Yeah, 6. Out of the 6 MCU movies we’ve watched so far, IM3 is far and away my least favourite.

But that’s okay, because we’ve got Thor: Dark World coming up next… o.O

Marvel Movie Marathon: Avengers: I love this movie.

I would have loved writing this review more if my browser hadn’t eaten it when it was halfway written, but I’ll try to recreate it with as much enthusiasm as the first go had. :p

The truth is I was really not confident about Avengers. I’ve watched a lot of Joss Whedon’s stuff, but I’d never drunk the Kool-Aid, and I was grimly afraid we were going to end up with Magic Widow the Superhero Slayer for this movie. We didn’t, and I’m still both astonished and grateful. I read a while after the film came out that Joss (or someone with enough influence over him) had looked at the early cut and thought “this movie has too much Joss in it” and subsequently left 20 minutes or so on the cutting room floor. If that’s the case, it’s a rare instance where I’ll doff my hat to Joss Whedon, because normally ego would override that kind of decision, and it was to the betterment of the film that it did not.

I don’t love it just because it’s funny, although it is (Cap paying up the $10 to Fury, and his delighted, “I understood that reference!”; Tony poking incessantly at Bruce; Loki’s snarky, “I’m listening!” and his baffled, “This usually works…”; Nat’s irritation at her interrogation being interrupted–“I not give…*everything*..?!”; Coulson’s utterly mortifying, “I watched you while you were sleeping.”; and the unbeatable Harry Dean Stanton line, “Then, son…you got a *condition*.”). And it’s not just the delight of seeing a long build-up pay off in the “meet, fight, bond, battle” arc that happens again and again in the comics, although the joy of watching Cap and Tony and Thor throw down in the forest never gets old.

I think what ultimately makes it work for me so well are the moments of poignancy and connection. I think it’s in Avengers where we start to understand how deeply Thor loves Loki, and how agonizing it is for him to have his brother be the bad guy. Natasha and Clint’s relationship, despite being given literally no screen time before Clint is compromised, is remarkably well wrought. And there’s Coulson’s story, of course, which didn’t rip my heart out THIS time (although I do desperately want to know if his ex-wife in the Framework was The Cellist), but that’s probably the first time it didn’t hit me viscerally. And his last line is a great one. Tony, trying to call Pepper, while Pepper is watching the TV to see what happens to him. There are a lot of really great emotional beats in this movie.

But of course if there’s a single moment that really lifts the whole film, it’s the old man rising to face down Loki. “There are always men like you.” And it’s because that moment isn’t about superheroes and impossible fantasy. It’s simple human courage, doing the right thing against insurmountable odds. He doesn’t know Cap is going to fall out of the sky and save him. He just knows he’s not going to kneel to a monster. And that’s the moment that seizes me by the throat, in Avengers.

Anyway, yeah, I could go through it on a line by line basis and complain that the beginning is a little slow, maybe, or that we could really do with some more women, thanks, but the guts of the matter are that I think Avengers works better than almost every other movie in the MCU. It remains in my top five, and I’m really pleased to have watched it again.

Picoreview: The Shape of Water: pretty sweet.

I haven’t seen Get Out and I’m not likely to, because I really don’t like horror movies, but having now seen The Shape of Water and not Get Out, I pretty well suspect that Get Out was more deserving of the Oscar for Best Picture (assuming it was between those two, which, for the purposes of this discussion, I am. :)). The Shape of Water is a largely sweet, charming, beautifully filmed, well written love story to the movies, which is why, I think, it got the Best Picture: Hollywood does love films that love Hollywood. I’m very glad it *did* get Best Picture, and I actually do think this is a film that will stand the test of time in many ways, but it’s not the same kind of incisive political and social commentary horror that Get Out is.

The Shape of Water did nearly everything I expected it to, up to and including the twist(? was it a twist? I saw it coming from the first seconds of the film, but there were people who interpreted it completely differently than I did) ending, but it did it well. I genuinely loved the opening narrative about “the latter days of a beloved prince’s reign” or whatever it was, so much so that when they later nailed down the date of the film more precisely I was almost disappointed.

I loved Octavia Spencer as Eliza’s very talkative friend: both the trope and the actual performance made me happy all the way through. I thought bad guy Michael Shannon’s final line was magnificent. I loved Michael Stuhlbarg’s character and the decisions he made. I was less charmed by Richard Jenkins than I expected to be, and I thought Sally Hawkins put in a strong performance.

ALSO IT HAD DAVID HEWLETT YAY DAVID HEWLETT! What a terrible haircut! But yay David Hewlett!

Doug Jones retains the ultimate ability to emote through prosthetic makeup (well, ‘ultimate’: him, Ron Perlman, & Andy Sirkus kind of all hold the top spot for that). I thought his Creature was one of his more alien, er, creatures, despite the obvious Abe Sapien parallels, particularly with the eggs, but I felt the Creature was really very different from Abe, perhaps because Abe doesn’t have savagery as part of the character package. And on one hand I sort of wish he’d stop doing Doug Jones Hand Things, but on the other, when your face and eyes are as covered as his usually are, maybe the Hand Things are necessary.

I also completely understand–although I’d purposefully not read any of the articles about it before seeing the film–why it’s a problematic representation of disability. I think there are some aspects of its representation that are probably meant to be culturally indicative of the film’s era, rather than the modern era or even GdT’s sensibilities, but it’s not a film *of* that era, it’s merely set there, so that’s…finding loopholes, and I don’t think that’s especially useful. So, I mean, yeah: my fave is problematic.

But even if it is problematic, I still liked it a lot. I didn’t love it unconditionally, which is kind of what I expected, but I came away from it happy, and I’m very, very happy for Señor del Toro that it took home a bunch of Oscars. ♥

On the way home from school, Indy asked about King Henry, and I said there had been several of them, from about 1200 to about 1550 (I was wrong, they started in 1100, but close enough). I said Henry VIII was the last one, and that after him his son Edward had been king, and then his daughter Mary had been queen, and then finally his daughter Elizabeth had been queen for a long time, and she’d never married or had any children.

Why not, queried my child, and I said well, she wanted to be queen, and back then if she’d gotten married her husband would have been considered more important than she was.

Indy, baffled, said, “What?! But she was QUEEN!”

I said yep, but back then, and even still in a lot of ways now, people considered men to be more important than women (Indy gaped disbelievingly), so if she’d gotten married, people would have thought her husband was more important, and listened to him instead of her, and she didn’t want that. I said she’d considered getting married a lot of times, and had pretended she might to build political alliances–

“Oh *no*! That wasn’t nice!”

“Oh,” I said airily, “no, that happened a lot. Most of the time people, especially kings and queens and other nobility, didn’t get married for love. They got married because it would give them more land or more money.”

“So they would share,” Indy said, satisfied.

“Well, no,” I said, “see, if I had a lot of land, and I’d gotten married back then, my land would all become my husband’s. Women were basically owned by their husbands.”

By this time Indy was horrified. “*SLAVERY*!?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” I said.

Indy, completely horrified: “BUT THAT’S *WRONG*!!!! Mommy, I’m going to say this, and you might not like it, but *people weren’t very nice back then*!”

I agreed that they weren’t, and that things were somewhat better now, and that we all had to keep working until everybody believed men and women were equal. And then we talked about Victoria and Elizabeth II and then we were home. :)