The Civil War and Infinity War is coming. If there's anything Marvel Studios has been trying to hit us over the head with the past few years, it's that statement of fact. So it makes sense to introduce the audience to all of the players, particularly every member of the 'soon'-to-be-complete Avengers team. The most recent addition in the movie verse is Ant-Man!

I'll admit right off the bat that I didn't follow his storyline too much, or Wasp's. Even when I was younger I couldn't take the idea of him seriously. Changing your size while retaining your normal strength is one thing, but controlling insects (while making sense being that size) is something else entirely. And kinda gave me the creeps.
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Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!
But I felt the nerd obligation to see the film in theaters so there I went. Honestly, the trailers did make me interested. It seemed like they would take the concept of Ant-Man as the standalone hero and make it work for a feature length film. The result? It was...meh.
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Logo via Marvel Studios

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, but 'meh' is all I can really say about the whole thing. I honestly forgot that I had seen the movie a few hours after I got home, definitely not the norm when I usually go to see a Marvel film. I think that the main problem stems from a lack of creativity or spark of imagination in all of the wrong places.

The plot was one we've seen a million times and I don't feel that it fit well within the world of Ant-Man and the so-called genius scientist and technician our main characters are supposed to be. They show off Scott Lang's skills when he cracks Hank Pym's personal safe, but then try to make me believe that Pym baited Lang in the most convoluted way imaginable instead of simply contacting him directly. Pym could've hidden inside the house or even in the vault and asked Scott to help him right then and there instead of letting him just walk away with the suit. If Scott said 'no' to helping him then he could use one of his ants to plant something on him that he could say Scott stole. Then we'd still have the jailbreak scene, it would make for a cool introduction to the suit, and Lang can be guided how to use it the entire time by Pym. Solved! In the film there's no way Hank would know what would happen to his suit which is one of a kind and would be extremely dangerous if put in the wrong hands. What if Scott ended up selling it to get the money that he desperately needs? What if he never took the suit at all, being too disappointed at the lack of valuables? As for Scott, who would randomly put on a weird motorcycle suit and push buttons that could literally do anything WHILE you have the damned thing on?

Anyways, the rest of the film goes the way you'd expect it to, which isn't a good thing. After a training montage, Ant-Man gets ready for a heist, an idea which excited me as Marvel has never gone that route with a hero before. But the whole thing was underwhelming and asked me to care about things that they never bothered to make me care about in the first place. An ant that Scott named gets killed? Bummer. Scott and Hope get caught kissing? Oh well, good for them, I guess.

When it came to the acting department, Paul Rudd seemed to have a hard time finding his footing as a superhero the whole film. I think he's more than capable of pulling off a role like this and he did come close many times, but he wasn't given enough to work with in my opinion. Evangeline Lilly broke through the monotony a few times whenever she and Michael Douglas (playing her father Hank Pym) had scenes together and I genuinely liked how the two played their strained relationship. But in every other scene her character lacked, well, any character. Michael Douglas was by far the best actor of the ensemble. Being the veteran that he is that's not too surprising, though.

The villain, Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross), was by far one of the weakest I've seen so far in the Marvel 'verse. His only reason for being the bad guy is because he's gone insane. Not from some traumatizing event caused by the hero (Yeah, Hank snubbed him but it never felt like it effected him to THAT degree) but because of some particle thing that happens just from being around the technology that made the Ant-Man suit. So why hasn't Hank Pym or his daughter gone insane? They've undoubtedly been around that technology far longer than he has! I'm pretty sure a line is said in passing somewhere where they say that he was already a bit crazy but that's a really weak premise to base any bad guy on. I'd get it if Cross's evil plan was more focused on destroying Hank Pym but from the very beginning he's more focused on making these suits weaponized so they can sell them to the military and of course Hydra as we learn later. He didn't even look particular villainous or intimidating, though throughout the movie I felt like he belonged in the wrong comic book franchise.
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I will defeat you Superman! Oh-I mean Ant-Man!
The best part of the film had to be the fight scenes. With such a specific power I was hoping they would get creative with the choreography and do something different from what we're used to seeing and they always delivered.

But...that's it.

Ultimately, Ant-Man didn't have any real soul to it. It lost it's main voice as soon as Edgar Wright was out of the project and the script got three more writers working on it. Too many voices for any project means the end result will be a muddled mess and that's exactly what happened to Ant-Man. My hope is that Ant-Man will finally find his place amongst the rest of the Avengers in future movies, very much like how well the Hulk has been working in the Avengers franchise despite the lackluster films he'd been featured in before.

What did you think of the film? Am I missing something? Tell me in the comments below.
 
 
(Slight Spoilers Ahead)

AVENGERS!!!!! AGE OF ULTRON!!!1! SQUEEE!!!!

Okay, I'm done. Actually, no I'm not, it was awesome!
Avengers Assembled
Pictured Above: Awesomeness.
Do I really need to review this movie for you? From what I've heard, everyone seems to agree that it was great. Now, I wouldn't say it's better than the first, but in my opinion, it's pretty much equal to the first. Even though it does have a different feel from its predecessor.

How, you ask? Well, hold on to your butts, folks, here comes one of my weird analogies. The first Avengers film feels like going to an amusement park for the first time. Your senses are overwhelmed, there's delicious food, fun games and attractions, and of course a ton of different rides but you can only do so much in just 2 hours. It's still fun, and you loved the experience, but there's so much more you want to explore and experience. The second time you go to the park you have a plan of action, you're still entertained, but you have a set goal and purpose this time to get more out of time you'll spend there. That's Age of Ultron.

At this point, we're familiar with the members of the Avengers, how they work together, and how the overall story could pan out, but now with AOU, we have a new threat, new characters, and a sense of an overarching plan of action revolving around a certain piece of handwear.
infinity gauntlent
Hence the earlier fangirl 'squee'.
APU isn't a darker film necessarily, but it does want to get down to business and show you its plan. Nothing wrong with that, as someone who knows what the plans are for the next few installments, I'm pumped! And you all should be too! In fact, read the comics first so you can properly anticipate the amount of awe-inspiring goodness coming to theaters the rest of this decade! Seriously.
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So much goodness....
I'll admit that I've been in superhero frenzy lately (surprise, surprise) and have done my best to feed the hunger with all things Marvel and Avengers. While I can't afford to go to the theater and watch it for the 22nd time, I can placate myself with looking at forums online, reading other blogs like my own, and watching any and all behind-the-scenes coverage of Avengers or interviews with the cast and crew.

Ever since the first film I've slowly yet surely developed a huge amount of respect for Scarlett Johansson and Joss Whedon (Whom I already respected, so he's pretty much a god to me now) for their clever feminist agenda. If you've spent enough time on geek social media you may already be aware of the many times where ScarJo has reacted beautifully to sexist questions and responses regarding her character, Black Widow.

While the guys get the questions about their own geekiness, deep characterization and stunts, Scarlett has to answer questions about her outfits and her diet and exercise regimen. This is incredibly unfortunate because female superheroes can be, and are, just as intriguing, and powerful as their male counterparts, oftentimes more so. I'd love to hear Scarlett talk about Natasha Romanoff's past, what her part in the group is, or what drives her to turn away from what she was trained to do and save the world.

With all this being said, you may remember a piece I wrote around Valentines' Day where I attempted to create a 'Romantic Period Piece' story where the gender roles were reversed (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). I took all the conventions and typical stereotypes of both men and women in period romance and turned it on its head to give everyone an idea of just how entertaining, and innovative a story revolving a female lead who doesn't need to rely on males could be. One problem with this in a 'Period Piece' is that chauvinism was the norm back then. You can't really make a story like the one I wrote for Hollywood because it simply would NOT have happened!

However, this is a new age where us girls have the opportunity to be our own person, and enjoy the freedoms of the male gender (for the most part). So, I'm going to write another story where the female takes the lead. Seeing as nobody seems to want to make a proper Wonder Woman movie or a standalone film about Black Widow's past, I'm going to try and make do with what I know of the Superhero-verse and make up my own female superhero story. Hope you enjoy!

Rachel Moore is a soft-spoken nursing student who could fit perfectly into the category of 'nerd,' complete with thick-rimmed glasses. She wants to be a nurse because she wants to help people, and make a difference. But while in school, she's surprised to learn how cutthroat the world of healthcare has become as of late due to the rising demand of healthcare professionals, and literally thousands trying to get into the profession. Despite her knowledge, skill, and genuine heart for the work, she's often overlooked, and undermined by her peers. The only one that is actually nice to her is Scott Mallory. He's popular amongst the class, intelligent, kind, and absolutely gorgeous! But he's already got a bitch of a girlfriend, and there's no way Rachel could ever attract the attention of a guy like that.

One night the class is called into an actual emergency room to observe, and if absolutely needed, help the staff. Everything is calm until a bunch of patients are brought in from a mysterious accident. It's all hands on deck, and Rachel does what she can to help, but gets lost in the frenzy, and silently wonders if she made the right career choice. Is she really cut out to be a nurse? She can't even help herself! How can she expect to help other people?

That's when she notices an older looking gentleman with a blood all over his face and chest, waiting to be helped amongst the chaos. He was obviously brought in with the others, but he was standing upright and mumbling darkly to himself, so the nursing students either ignored him, or actively tried to stay away from him. Even though the man gives her a weird vibe, she goes to him ready to give him any kind of care she can provide. As she begins to work on him, he thanks her, then yanks her hand and places something into her palm. He tells her to keep it hidden, and safe “within herself” then he stops breathing.

She gets some of the actual doctors to see him but it's too late. He's gone. She feels the thing he put into her hand but only sees a strange rash in the shape of a diamond on her palm. Maybe she only imagined him giving her something...She doesn't tell anyone about their interaction.

That night she goes home and has some weird dreams. A deep voice saying something about her destiny, ancient warriors, and a dark diamond-shaped stone kept showing up. The next morning she wakes up feeling strangely energized despite the dreams making her toss and turn. She puts on her glasses out of habit, but realizes that she doesn't need them. In fact, she can see perfectly! When changing her clothes, she notices that she suddenly has abs and spends a good 5 minutes flexing her now incredibly toned arms. This is really strange. Actually, this should be impossible.

As she goes about her day, she realizes that she can see things a good mile away, perfectly hear a conversation happening on the opposite side of the noisy lunch hall, and grab a fly that was bugging her out of the air between two fingers. Unable to concentrate, she pretends to be sick, and goes home early to figure out what exactly is happening to her. When she hops into an elevator, she hears a familiar voice call for her to hold it and is elated to find out that it's Scott. She's so excited by Scott's appearance and smile that she fails to realize that she made finger indents on the elevator door where she grabbed it.

She tries to look up her 'symptoms' at home, but the search yields no medical results, and there isn't anything in her medical textbooks either. It isn't until she adds the strange diamond mark on her palm as a symptom that she gets the result she never expected. She finds lore and legends about a 'jet stone' being passed from one person to the next since before recorded history. This diamond-shaped stone would supposedly gives its owner super human abilities as well as beef up the strengths they already had. She goes back to the hospital where the man had died to try and find out who he was, but there are no records of him being there despite other nurses and doctors remembering him. At a dead end, she spends the next few days getting used to her new found powers and wondering if she'll be rid of them.

Then while Rachel sits on the city bus, a car comes out of nowhere, and causes the bus to crash and rollover. She opens her eyes, and realizes she is completely unscratched but notices that others were not so lucky. Without thinking, she pulls heavy debris off of other passengers, and carries two or three out of the vehicle at a time. She even lifts the bus off of a pinned passenger. She makes sure to check everyone of course, and finds that while many people have some pretty extensive injuries, whenever she touches them, they get slightly better. Bruises disappear, cuts and scrapes vanish, their bleeding slows down, and those with head damage become more lucid. She leaves the scene quickly, afraid that there will be too many questions from police.

She realizes that her newfound powers have given her the ability to do what she's wanted all along, to help others and make a difference! So she embraces it, and dons a black hoodie, jeans, and sneakers along with a cheap, black masquerade mask. At first, she thinks she might be out of her element as she wanders the streets, and back alleys of her city until she hears commotion in a parking lot. When she investigates, she sees Scott Mallory himself being threatened at gunpoint by two thugs who want his wallet and car. She goes into action, and while she is awkward at first, she's fast enough to dodge the shots they fire and strong enough to knock them unconscious with a bit of fighting.

Scott is beside himself and instantly enraptured by his rescuer. She asks him if he's alright (which he is) and turns to leave but he has to ask, “Who are you?” She isn't going to tell him, obviously, so instead she says, “I'm the one who's going to heal this city.” and disappears into the shadows. Thinking back on it she thinks that the line sounded kind of corny, but it'll do for now.
Yeah! Just get a taste! Go ahead, Hollywood, make your move!
 
 
Seeing as everything within the Marvel Universe is now being made into either a blockbuster film or popular TV show, it was only a matter of time until the blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night, got another chance at a live action adaptation. Back in 2003, Daredevil had been brought to the big screen with Ben Affleck [Batman] playing the title role, and well, not many people were impressed. Me especially.
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Nope, still not impressed.
The film struggled with what many superhero movies did with at the time, a lack of balance. You see, in the early '00s, the superheroes from comics were still seen as being over-the-top in many respects. So the natural inclination for many movie adaptations was to either mirror that sense of ridiculousness, or try to re-imagine the hero as dark, gritty and complex. When the Daredevil film was released, it was strange, as it blended together a rather dark tone and downright laughable action. This combo left many in the audience scratching their collective heads because they didn't know if they should just be entertained by it or to take it seriously.

Unfortunately, not too long after Daredevil made its debut, filmmakers finally started to realize how to make these movies work by treating superheroes like real people who happened to have extraordinary abilities and live in extraordinary worlds. Suddenly, superheroes were relatable because they had personalities and flaws that both helped and hindered their desire to save the world. Daredevil, you sacrificed yourself for a greater good.
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What a concept!
Thankfully, the guardian devil of Hell's Kitchen wasn't forgotten by Marvel Studios and he now has a TV series produced by online outlet Netflix. When the series was released earlier this month, I immediately put it at the top of my queue and started watching them as fast as I could. Unfortunately, due to a mountain of homework, and mandatory overtime at work, my binging didn't reach 100 percent. But fear not TRUE BELIEVERS! I can assure you that I have finished  enough episodes to give you all a pretty good idea of what to expect. [Sidenote: becasue I haven't finished the series your guaranteed a spoiler free review!]
The first thing I have to say is that this show looks great. It's look is very different from what you'd see in other Marvel shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or Agent Carter. It's tone is more more reminiscent of crime dramas or TV thrillers but knows how to keep pace with the action it constantly provides. This approach might be thanks to a pair of the staff writers (also married) that spent three years as writers on Law & Order: SVU. Also, the fight scenes are amazing for a small screen format. One fight scenes at the end of episode two, is done with what I'm pretty sure was one take and lasted about 3 to 5 minutes. Fake fight aficionados will find great enjoyment in the type of care and forethought taken with each fight or action scene in every single episode.

In addition to what I appreciated about the series is that the audience doesn't get a big explanation as to what Murdock's abilities actually are. We know that he became blind as a kid by being exposed to chemicals in the first few seconds of the pilot, and then, over the course of the series, we gradually get to see the extent of his abilities as he uses them in great reveals both big and small. I always enjoy when a characters origin story isn't laid out for us it always seems like cheating. In this series the audience gets to know Murdock as a character first which makes watching his journey more rewarding as a viewer. And thank God, Daredevil doesn't feature a cheesy monologue given at the beginning of each episode or a phrase always said about justice whenever the hero defeats a bad guy.
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Cough, cough...
My only complaint so far is that the show hasn't quite found its footing as to what it wants to be. It's not really a superhero show, or a crime drama, or thriller for that manner. If the idea is for it to just be its own 'thing' then by all means I hope they attain whatever that 'thing' is, but right now it gives me the impression as a viewer that the show is a bit lost. Sure they are intent on taking you somewhere, and you're excited to get there, but you don't really trust their sense of direction.

Once again, I haven't finished the season yet, so more than likely it will just get better and my complaint will mean nothing. If it doesn't, the show has at least earned enough respect for me to come back for more in a season two [which was just given the green light yesterday].  Plus, a rocky season one just may be a trait of Marvel's TV division. After all, season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been much better than its freshman season.  

All in all, Daredevil is worth checking out. Whether you want to get into the next big superhero show, be compelled by a new crime drama with a twist, or just want to see Daredevil in a more flattering light than he's been in the past. You should totally check out this new season as soon as possible.

Oh! One more important thing I forgot to mention.
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HOLY CRAP!!! FOGGY NELSON IS FULTON REED FROM THE MIGHTY DUCKS!!!!!11!!!!!
What are your thoughts on Daredevil? Share them below.
 
 
Last week ABC premiered, "Agent Carter," yet another Marvel project on the not-so-big screen. Presumably, because the executives think that we'll start riots in the streets if our Marvel quota isn't constantly being met. "Agent Carter" is a six-episode long mini-series that follows, Margaret 'Peggy' Carter of "Captain America" fame.  It's set during the mid-1940s, not long after Cap's crash in the Atlantic sea. When the series starts, the SSR has relegated her to secretarial duties because either: one, they had forgotten (or perhaps aren't aware?) about all the times that Peggy has proven herself to be more than capable of kicking ass, or two, in the 40s men were sexist and amnesiacs.

When an old friend, Howard Stark, asks her to prove his innocence after being accused of selling his own weapons on the black market, Carter's dull office life gets far more interesting. Since the SSR see Stark as a traitor to be apprehended, she effectively becomes a double agent, and uses her skills and resources to find out who's really responsible for Starks' weapons falling into the wrong hands.

In all honesty, "Captain America: The First Avenger'" is one of my least favorite Marvel films. The characters in it were either not likeable, or had little depth. I also found the pacing strange and the plot was all too familiar.
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Nazis using mystical MacGuffins in order to gain power and world domination?! What'll they think of next?

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

At first, the pilot episode was slow, and right out of the gate, they hit you with a continuing barrage of sexism until we get to Carter's first 'mission' for Stark. I found this set up to be reminiscent of a vintage, more boring version of "Alias."  Early on, my hopes were starting to drop, until she brings one of Starks' dangerous inventions home. After one intense deactivation scene, sudden roommate death, and engaging fight later, the show managed to give Carter some much-needed dimension and (more importantly) got me hooked. Yes, the whole "everyone around me gets hurt" is a bit tired and usually comes off as whiny, but Carter has literally just lost Captain America and now her friend is dead because of her, albeit unintentionally. You start to realize the pressure and frustration Carter must feel in striving to be an exceptional agent, while also dealing with the emotional strain of constantly being unappreciated and losing all the people she cares about.

END OF SPOILERS!

While the first episode wasn't exactly mind-blowing, it did manage to give Peggy Carter's character a little more life and will provide you with an engaging 40s era spy story if nothing else. And if you're a Marvel fan you'll definitely appreciate how much the story is steeped in Marvel lore.
PictureJennifer Walters, She-Hulk & Lawyer
For example: The cab service, "Lucky Star Cab Company" that was prominently featured in "Captain America: The First Avenger's" chase sequence, is frequently used by characters in the series. Also, Roxxon Motor Oil is once again part of shady goings on, as it has been in both "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and in the comics.  In addition, I caught an offhand remark about a neighbor who is a secretary at Goodman, Kurtzman, and Holliway for all of you fellow She-Hulk fans you'll know that's where Jennifer Walters works. Finally, there's a certain butler for the Starks that becomes a main character, named Edwin Jarvis.


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Pictured: Marvel's version of Alfred Pennyworth.
PictureNetflix's Daredevil
I'm really hoping that this series doesn't peter out by the end of its run but am not too worried as it is only slated for seven episodes. I hope they keep adding dimension to Carter's character and I'm excided to see how much modern-era Marvel can be set up in the 1940s. So if the creators and writers are as good as they've proven to be so far, then I'll be riding this one out until Daredevil begins on Netflix in April.

You can stay caught up on Agent Carter by visiting Amazon Instant Video and if you get a TV Season Pass you save 7% off the price of each episode aired!

You can find out more about the show on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
This week, Vin Diesel managed to get the Internet buzzing when he posted this image on his Facebook page of himself with an Inhumans t-shirt on.
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Am I inhuman? No. My personal trainer can attest to that.
Many, myself included, began to speculate if Mr. Groot might be playing the role of silent superhero, Black Bolt, in the Marvel Studios movie, “Inhumans,” due out in 2018. 
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King Black Bolt.
If he is cast in the part, I approve. One, Vin Diesel has the look and demeanor to play the character. For anyone that questions this, I recommend you take a look at those "Riddick" movies; where Diesel plays a dangerous, silent brute. Two, Black Bolt in the comics has always been portrayed as a man in his 40s, which is right around Diesel’s actual age. Three, because Black Bolt can destroy cities with just a whisper, Vin Diesel will never talk; which is the main complaint many lodge against his acting.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘But… The same actor can’t play two Marvel movie heroes!’ This is where I remind you about this guy, Chris Evans. You know, Human Torch and Captain America. It seemed to work out pretty well in that instance.
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He's hot either way. IMO.
Now, if you are completely lost and this is the first time you are hearing about “Inhumans” and Black Bolt. Here’s a little recap:

The “Inhumans” refers to a race of people that live on a small isolated island with a variety of super human abilities. The Inhumans were created by the Kree from an early evolution of Homo Sapiens on Earth. They were made to be a super soldiers against the Kree enemy, the Skrull.  Soon, the Inhumans created their own society and lived in seclusion from the rest of the earth’s population.

The Inhumans have been around the comic Marvel Universe for quite a long time, and much like Namor and his Atlanteans, they really only interact with the likes of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Avengers, when their land are threatened.  The Inhumans are also a fairly regal people and are led by their King Black Bolt and his Royal Family.
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Black Bolt and his chatty family. Rub it in, guys.
If you’d like to know more about the “Inhumans” I would recommend picking up the Marvel Knight’s “Inhumans” TPB from 1998. It collects the 12-issue run by writer Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, Peter Parker: Spiderman, Incredible Hulk) and artist Jae Lee (X-Men, The Dark Tower, Avengers). It’s a good place to start with the Inhumans in the modern era and will probably be the basis for what Marvel is planning to do with the forthcoming movie. It has a great story with rich characters and beautiful panels that suck you into the Inhumans’s homeland of Attilan.
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The Inhumans homeland, Attilan. I think Skrillex is playing there next week.
Here is the synopsis for the 12-issue TPB:
The Inhumans have always lived in peaceful seclusion on their island kingdom of Attilan, preferring not to mix with the outside world. But now their fragile kingdom is under attack from without and within!
You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.
The “Inhumans” have been involved in some of the biggest Marvel events over the years including events revolving around the Infinity Gauntlet, so they are worth getting some background on.  Also, if you are keeping up with “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.” on ABC, you may see some Inhumans in the not too distant future.