Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

It’s baaaaaacccckkk… 

Hey, y’all!  As we all know, the Marvel Cinematic Universal has been killin’ it this year (to be honest, they’ve been killin’ for the last 10 years), and everyone’s still buzzing about Black Panther and Avengers:  Infinity War as well as the upcoming Avengers 4 (working title).  Plus, we recently received the sad news that Chris Evans’s appearance as Captain America in the next Avengers film will be his last.  😭😭  Add that with that fact that Halloween is coming and kids around the world will be dressing up as Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther, I figured there was no better time to bring back my top 10 to name my favorite films from the MCU!

Spiderman and Deadpool Dancing (Alt)

By the way, this list only refers to the films in the Disney portion of the MCU so Deadpool, the early Spider-Man films and the entire X-Men series to date will be excluded.  Sorry, y’all.  I still urge you to read on.  Some of my choices may shock you.  BTW, there may be some slight spoilers in this review.  You’ve been warned.

10. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spiderman - Frustrated (Alt)

I was one of the precious few people that had reservations about Spider-Man joining the MCU, as I mentioned in my 2016 review of Captain America:  Civil War.  However, the more I see Spider-Man in the MCU films, the more I love him, and I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man:  Homecoming.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I love how the MCU reminds us that Spider-Man is actually a teenager and accurately portrays a young Generation Z boy trying to save the world one person at a time.  Plus, I appreciated the fact that Homecoming featured a diverse cast that befittingly showcases the cultural melting pot that is New York City.

9.  Iron Man 3

Iron Man - I'm the Best (Alt)

As I said before, some of my choices will shock you, and right now, I’m sure some of y’all are saying to yourselves, “What in the actual hell?”  In the court of public opinion, Iron Man 3 is not only the worst film in the Iron Man trilogy, but it’s also one of the worst films in the MCU.  In my personal opinion though, I thought the movie was great.  I enjoyed the other two, but this one was my favorite amongst the Iron Man films (stop judging me).  I thought the Mandarin/Trevor Slattery storyline was hilarious and totally unexpected.  There were a ton of other scenes that had me crackin’ up too (i.e.:  Tony’s suit not coming to him immediately after he summoned it), and the storyline with Tony developing PTSD was very interesting.  Plus, the movie falls under one of my favorite genres:   a Christmas movie that’s not really about Christmas (see Die Hard and Trading Places)!

8.  Thor

Thor Winks (Alternate 3)

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love Thor, so naturally, the first installment of his trilogy would be on this list.  At first glance, I thought Thor was going to be a bit on the cheesy side.  However, when I sat down and watched the film in its entirety, I loved it.  My only small gripe is that it moves too fast (the whole movie takes place in the course of two and a half days, pretty much), and we don’t get quite enough Thor and Jane (yeah, I said it), but the creative force behind the MCU more than makes up for that later.  The best things about this film are that I was introduced to one of the finest specimens on Earth, Mr. Chris Hemworth, and we were all introduced to the MCU’s number one villain/antihero, Loki!

7.  Captain America:  The Winter Soldier

Captain America - Does Anyone Want to Get Out (Alt)

When Captain America:  The Winter Soldier was first released in the Spring of 2014, there was a ton of hoopla for the film, and after I finally got to see it myself, I could see why.  I wasn’t sure if I’d like it as much as Captain America:  The First Avenger (yes, I liked The First Avenger), but as it turns out, The Winter Soldier was even better.  Killer action scenes, an intelligent plot and a storyline about how the (brotherly) love between two men remains unending after more than three-quarters of a century go by.  I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.  Let’s not forget…Cap was even sexier in this installment.

6.  Thor:  Ragnarok

Thor - He's a Friend From Work

As my longtime readers know, I posted an article about Thor:  Ragnarok last year, citing my likes, dislikes and scratch my head moments in the film.  If you notice, the likes far outnumber the other two categories, and the more I watch this movie, the more I love it.  It’s friggin’ hilarious, and I love Thor and Bruce/Hulk’s dynamic.  Yes, I still hate that Thor and Jane broke up, and I don’t like that Thor lost his hair or his eye, but I’ve gotten used to the haircut.  Plus, (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Thor gets his eye back in Infinity War.  Yay!

5.  Captain America:  Civil War

Captain America

Hands down, Captain America:  Civil War was the best film out of Cap’s trilogy.   Yeah, he shared the stage with the majority of his Avengers teammates, as well as some new editions (Black Panther, baby!), but that just added to the greatness that is this movie.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, the Russo Brothers handled the ensemble cast beautifully.  The special effects and action scenes were killer (namely the fight at the airport), and the twist involving Bucky and Tony’s parents was a real game changer.  I pretty much figured that Bucky was the one that killed Tony’s parents, but after it was confirmed and watching the aftermath behind it…man, I never would’ve predicted that.

4.  Thor:  The Dark World

Thor - Anyone Else (Alt)

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m sure this is another “What in the actual hell?” moment.  I LOVE Thor:  The Dark World, and as long as I live, I will never understand why it’s the most hated film in the MCU to date.  It’s true that Malekeith was a weak villain, but to be honest, aren’t most of the MCU villains weak?  Aside from Malekeith being a sorry bad guy, this movie was boss.  Beautiful visuals, Thor and Jane’s love story was explored a bit further, we got to see Loki again (and we watched him fake his death again), and the film took place on Asgard and England!  I’ve always had a thing for the UK.  Plus, Thor was drop dead gorgeous in this movie!  To be honest, this is the movie that made me fall in love with him!  Sorry, not sorry.

3.  Black Panther

T'Challa and Shuri - Wakanda Forever (Alt)

Y’all, believe me when I tell you…Black Panther wasn’t just a movie.  It was an adventure.  Seeing what Africa could’ve been if it weren’t torn apart by colonialism and slavery, the stellar performances, the strong black female characters; Erik Killmonger, the first strong and unforgettable MCU villain since Loki; making “Wakanda Forever” the catchphrase of 2018 (I’m just sorry that we ran it down in the ground so much that Chadwick Boseman hates it now); this film has it all.  I saw Black Panther at the theatre in 3-D earlier this year, and it blew me away.  Everything from the beginning to the end credits is awe-inspiring, and as an African-American woman, I love films that portray my people in a positive light.  The soundtrack was phenomenal, as well.  “All the Stars” was my go-to jam of the year until “This Is America” came out.  Dang…the symbolism in that last statement is eerie…

2.  Avengers:  Infinity War

Thanos 2

It was extremely hard for me to choose between Black Panther and Avengers:  Infinity War for the number two spot.  I saw both movies at the theatre (check out my review of Infinity War that I wrote earlier this year) and each film made me rethink my universe.  However, when I had to dig deep and think about it, Infinity War blew my mind just a tad bit more—just a tad—and won the race by a hair.  Like Civil War, Infinity War handled the ensemble cast perfectly.  I was on the edge of my seat during the entire film, and the ending basically went down in pop culture history.  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.  Also, I liked that Thanos wasn’t your typical I-wanna-do-evil-just-for-the-sack-of-doing-it bad guy.  He was a three-dimension character with a purpose that he thought was for the greater good.  Then again, so did Hitler and Jim Jones.

1.  The Avengers

The Avengers Shot (Alt).gif

Come on.  The majority of this list may have surprised you, but are you really surprised that The Avengers took the number one spot?  The movie that’s the second highest grossing superhero film of all time (it’s surpassed by Infinity War)?  The film that changed the game for superhero movies forever?  The project that solidified the MCU as a powerhouse?  Y’all knew better.  I could explain why this movie is number one on the list, but y’all already know why.  If you don’t…watch it.

—Written by Nadiya

Did y’all agree with my list?  Did some of the entries intrigue you?  What’s some of your favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Are you glad I brought my top 10 back?  Let me know in the comments section!

‘Luke Cage’ Season Two Review (WARNING: Slight Spolilers!)

Y’all…I finished watching the second season of Luke Cage on Jun. 29, and man…it was good.  Damn good.  I was pleasantly surprised, considering how disappointed I was with Jessica Jones’s second season.  It took me a week to binge the entire season, and the only reason it took that long is because of my day job.  If I had more free time, I’m sure I would’ve watched all 13 eps in about two days.  It was that doggone fantastic.  So much so, that I purposely missed Claws, Pose and the 2018 BET Awards to binge some episodes (although when it comes to this year’s BET Awards, I don’t think I missed much).

Luke Cage - Dab (Alt)

The second season picks up where The Defenders left off.  Luke is back in Harlem trying to protect the city he loves, but now, he’s a bit more of a local celebrity.  He finds himself fighting a lot more than bad guys.  He’s also fighting with some internal issues, which include crossing the fine line between being a hero and being a villain, and whether or not he should forgive his father for turning his back on him when he needed him most.  Of course, Mariah and Shades (who are now officially a couple) make Luke’s life harder with their shenanigans and their own personal battles.  To make matters worse for both parties, another villain comes into the mix named Bushmaster, a Jamaican crime lord that has a personal vendetta against Mariah and her family, and also carries a disdain for Luke, considering that his strength and power is nearly equal to Bushmaster’s.

This current season had all the usual stuff that makes it great:  action, intriguing plot, stellar performances, hot love scenes, and an even hotter man (Luke).  Even Danny Rand aka The Immortal Iron Fist and Colleen (Danny’s homegirl) made appearances (more on that later).  However, this season of Luke Cage had a little something else going on with it as well…it was really deep.  Season two was chock full of recurring themes that manifested from demons that nearly every main character had to face, and not all of them were able to overcome them.

WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTAIN SLIGHT SPOILERS TO THE NEW SEASON OF LUKE CAGE.  IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SECOND SEASON YET, I SUGGEST YOU DON’T READ ANY FURTHER!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Heroism

Luke Cage 2 (Alt)

Throughout the season, Luke struggles with the true meaning of being a hero.  Luke believes that in order to protect Harlem, he has to do whatever he can to get the job done, by any means necessary.  This means sometimes stooping to the bad guys’ level.  There’s a scene—without giving too much away; as I said, these are slight spoilers—where Luke is confronted with a no good so-and-so that lays hands on his baby mama and child, so Luke decides to give him the same courtesy.  Needless to say, Luke beats the man half dead.  I have to be honest, I didn’t shed not one tear for that fool.  However, Claire wisely confronts Luke about the dark path he’s going on and they have this exchange:

Luke:  I’m finally getting results, Claire.  Shit’s getting done.  Pops always talked about Kenyatta*, right?  I see his point.  I’m rough, but I’m still a hero.

Claire:  Really?  If beating your chest around town is what you need to call yourself a hero, then I question your understanding of the word.  This shit is changing you, Luke.

Luke:  It’s making me more of who I am.

Ironically enough, Mariah fights the same struggle with heroism.  We as the audience know that she’s far from being a hero, but Mariah honestly believes in her mind that she’s the one and only savior of Harlem, and continues to struggle with being in “the life,” and trying to become 100% legit.  She even has a conversation with her daughter Tilda (a very interesting new character), that’s very similar to the one Luke had with Claire:

Mariah:  Your great-grandmother was a ghetto philanthropist.  Your cousin Cornell financed all of my campaigns.  Now I am a legit philanthropist.  That’s the American way, girl.

Tilda:  You’re a crook and a liar.

Mariah:  I serve Harlem!  And yes, I will do whatever it takes!  Your profession is not too pristine, my dear.  You never took money from a shady pharmaceutical company for a greater good?

Tilda:  That’s why my medicine comes from the ground.  To do no harm.

Mariah:  It’s better to do a little harm for a whole lot of good than it is to do no harm for jack shit.

Later in the series, Tilda herself is faced with some situations where she has to decide between doing what’s right, or doing what’s best for the people.  Seeing how she comes to those decisions—and the effect caused by her decisions—will surprise you.

Vengeance

Luke - You Started This (Alt)

Another huge theme in Luke Cage’s second season is vengeance.  Bushmaster’s taste for vengeance against Mariah’s family makes him blind to everything else around him, and his loved ones warn him that his vengeance can be his downfall.  Sure enough, we begin to see his desire for revenge eat away at him.  Bushmaster’s uncle tells him midway through the series that “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.”  It turns out truer words have never been spoken.

After Bushmaster comes at Mariah in the worst way possible, she decides to seek out her own vengeance and becomes everything that she once hated.  She’s able to see Bushmaster squirm a bit, but she loses her soul in the process.

Forgiveness

Luke and His Dad

Forgiveness is one of the other big themes of the second season.  This issue mostly affects Luke alone, considering that Mariah and Bushmaster aren’t trying to forgive any damn body for their trespasses.  As I mentioned previously, Luke is reunited with his father this season, and the initial meeting is pretty damn tense.  Unlike Jessica Jones, who didn’t know her mother was still alive, Luke his well aware that his father is very much alive, but would rather go on as if he wasn’t around.

Once again, Claire can read Luke like a book, and she knows that a lot of his anger stems from the fact that he can’t forgive his father for his past sins (yep, preachers sin, too!).  Claire warns that if Luke can’t forgive his father, his anger and resentment will continue to consume him…much like Mariah and Bushmaster’s anger and resentment consumed them.  Hmmm…  You could say that this ties into the vengeance theme, and in a way, it does.  However, Luke has the good sense not to go that route.  Luke would rather his father just leave him be.  Do they ever bury the hatchet and rekindle their relationship?  Watch and see.

Luke Cage - Bottle Smash and Kick to the Head

All this isn’t to say that this season of Luke Cage was without its flaws, because it wasn’t.  One of the things I had an issue with is that Danny aka Iron Fist only appeared in one episode.  Come on!  Y’all could’ve at least let him stick around for two episodes, especially considering that he was giving Luke some pointers on how he could defeat Bushmaster.  That was a wasted cameo.  The same thing goes for Colleen.  She was teaching Misty to not let the loss of her arm make her feel worthless, and the time she spent with Misty helped her be herself again.  Then, poof!  Colleen was gone, too.  Wasted cameo.  That’s it.  Everything else about the show was gravy.

I’m sure most of y’all have watched the second season of Luke Cage by this point, but if you haven’t, I definitely recommend it.  I know that the Netflix Marvel Universe hasn’t delivered in the past few months with Jessica Jones and The Defenders having lackluster seasons as of yet, but this season of Luke Cage certainly delivered.  Go check out this dark chocolate Boy Scout immediately.  😍😍

Luke Cage - I'm Just Getting Started (Alt)

SIDE NOTE:  I’m so sorry it took me this long to get this published.  Between all the overtime I’ve had to put in at my day job, my birthday last week (I’m officially 37!  Gettin’ on up there!), and these sinuses killin’ me softly day after day, I was lucky if I could produce two paragraphs a day!  However, I finally got this bad boy finished for y’all!  Sorry about the delay!

—Written by Nadiya

What did you think about season two of Luke Cage?  Was it as good as the first season, better, or just average?  Did you think the recurring themes were deep?  Did you notice some other themes in the show that I didn’t mention?  Do you think Danny and Colleen’s appearances were wasted, or did they spend the right amount of time on the show?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

*Kenyatta is the main series from a book series written by author Donald Goines.  His character is that of a black militant man that takes upon himself and his crew to rid Detroit of drug dealers and racist cops anyway they have to.

 

 

‘Infinity War’ Spoilers! (Out of Context)

Hey, y’all!  I know I just posted my Avengers:  Infinity War review just yesterday, but I realize some of you out there may be curious about all the big events that happened in the film.  For all of you that want the fine details of the movie, I decided to make this post feature the major spoilers in the film.  I decided to tell you guys the important plot points using one of my favorite methods:  GIFs.  Enjoy!

 

 

***WARNING:  The following GIFs contain important spoilers for Avengers:  Infinity War.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, you may not want to see the pictures.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.***

 

 

Naruto - Choking (Alt)

Flying Doughnut (Alt)

Squidsworth - I Hate Everyone (Alt)

Needles in Face (Alt)

Thumper (Alt)

Hans Falling (Alt)

Tyrion - A Small Man Can Cast a Large Shadow (Alt)

Forging Metal (Alt)

World War Z (Alt)

Ashes to Ashes 2 (Alt)

Cecily Strong - Huh (Alt)

Hope you learned somethin’!  (You can thank Twitter for the idea.  😂😂)

—Written (and GIFs posted) by Nadiya

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Was an Experience…

Wow.  Just wow.

I took the chance to see Avengers:  Infinity War last night (Apr. 28, 2018), not really knowing what to expect.  I heard the ending was crazy (which it was); when I viewed Avengers:  Age of Ultron nearly three years ago I remember walking out of the theatre a bit disappointed, and over the years, I’ve learned that having so many great characters and/or actors in one film can be hit or miss.  Last night I left the movie theatre with my mind blown…in a good way.

Just a quick synopsis:  Thanos—the purple bad guy that the MCU’s been teasing us with for the past six years—finally does something and decides to rule the universe with the help of the Infinity Gauntlet and all six of the Infinity Stones.  It’s up to The Avengers to stop him, but to the chagrin of humanity, they’re scattered across the universe and not exactly on speaking terms (Tony and Steve).  Thankfully, they gain a little help from their friends:  The Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange (yes, those Beatles puns were intentional).  The stakes have never been higher.

Thanos (Alt)

I know what you’re thinking:  “We already know that much about the movie from the trailers and TV commercials!”  Well, that’s all I’m able to tell you without spoiling the film.  I’ll just speak on the other factors of Infinity War I enjoyed without getting deep into the plot.  First of all, this is one of the darkest movies in the MCU, and I liked that they decided to take The Avengers series to the next level the way they did.  Once again, I can’t speak too much on the subject without revealing major plot points, but trust me…the darker tone is well worth the price of admission.

All the actors did a great job, and the film was very well written as well as brilliantly handled.  I never got the feeling of there being too many cooks (The Expendables), or that the characters were all fighting for screen time (Age of Ultron).  Without broadcasting too much of the storyline, the characters were basically grouped off in different areas for the duration of the movie.  Steve, Bucky, T’Challa and the rest of Team Cap from Captain America:  Civil War (including Bruce, Vision, and Rhodey this go around) were mostly in Wakanda.  Thor, Rocket, and Groot took a trip to Nidavellir.  The remaining Guardians travel to Knowhere and later meet up with Doctor Strange, Tony and Spider-Man in Titan.  It never felt as if one character had too much focus or not enough.  Each player had equal time in the spotlight.  One thing I really like about the Russo Brothers is that they know how to handle an ensemble cast, as they more than proved when they took the helm of Civil War back in 2016.

Infinity War (Alt)

I have to echo many movie reviewers’ take on Thanos; I like the fact that he’s a fleshed out villain—much like Loki and Erik Killmonger—and he’s more than just an evildoer wrecking havoc for the sake of evil.  It’s revealed that he actually has a heart and feels genuine love…or at least his version of it.  Thanos is also a formidable opponent—as we all figured—but he turns out to commit deeds that are even worse than what we imagined, for a purpose we never would have thought possible.  The Avengers definitely have their work cut out for them.

Thor - Who the Hell are You Guys (Alt)

What I really loved about Infinity War was how the movie portrayed my baby Thor. When it comes to the Avengers movies, sometimes it feels that my sweetie is a bit underutilized, at least in my opinion.  Even though the first Avengers film still stands firm as my favorite out of the MCU, Thor didn’t really have a chance to shine, which in some respects is understandable, since he had to share the screen with his other teammates.  However, in Infinity War, Thor doesn’t hold back a damn thing, and he comes for Thanos with a vengeance, showing that he truly is mighty.  Thor is so badass in this film, that there’s a key scene where he appears in all his glory, and I kid you not, everyone in the theatre applauded.  I love that man.

Now onto the things I didn’t care for, which are small and minuscule.  Wanda’s (Scarlett Witch) accent kept changing from American to slightly Northern European.  She had a  thick Russian-esque accent in Age of Ultron and Civil War.  Pick one, boo.  Another small thing is that sometimes the transition from scene to scene would be a bit jarring, especially if it would say, switch from Earth to a completely atypical planet, but once again, that wasn’t really a biggie.  As I said before, the scenes clashed just a tiny bit, but the difference wasn’t completely overwhelming.  Oh yeah, and I didn’t like Black Widow with blonde hair.  Just sayin’.  Still ain’t feelin’ Thor’s haircut, but I’m over it.  Other than that, the movie was excellent.

In conclusion, if you haven’t seen Avengers:  Infinity War, get off your badonkadonk and go see it.  It’s worth the price of admission.  Don’t be cheap.  😛😛

Star Lord and Iron Man - It Sucks (Alt).gif

—Written by Nadiya

Have you seen Avengers:  Infinity War?  What did you think about it?  Was it the best film in the MCU, the worst, or did you like it, but not much as some of the other movies in the Marvel Universe?  Who was your favorite character?  Who was your least favorite character?  Did you think Thanos made a great villain or was he just…meh?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

‘Jessica Jones’ Season Two Review

What’s up, y’all?  As I mentioned in my previous post regarding Mo’Nique, one of the many reasons I didn’t boycott Netflix was because I refused to miss the second season of Jessica Jones (I don’t plan on missin’ Luke Cage, either).  So, when I learned the new season was set to air on March 8, I couldn’t wait to see it.  My mom and I practically watched it all in three days.  That being said, despite season two of Jessica Jones being interesting, it wasn’t without its flaws.

Jessica Jones - Thumbs Up (Alt)

The current season has Jessica dealing with the fallout after killing the sociopathic Kilgrave and investigating IGH, the lab that experimented on her after her near-fatal car accident and provided her with superhuman abilities.  Malcolm is still working alongside Jessica as her “associate,” although he’s treated more like an annoying neighbor that’s a glutton for punishment.  Trish also gives Jessica a hand by using her celebrity status and connections, but deep down, she wishes she could do more; not only with Jessica’s case, but to help people in general.  Jeri Hogarth (who’ll always be Trinity to me—just sayin’) is still around, but Jessica isn’t on speaking terms with her after Hogarth caused her wife’s brutal murder by allowing Kilgrave to escape Jessica’s grasp…again.  However, Hogarth gets some life-altering news that could possibly soften her evil demeanor…or does it?  In the process of learning more about IGH, Jessica uncovers some seriously disturbing things about the company, as well as her past.

I can’t go any further without giving some major spoilers, but as I said before, this season just wasn’t as great as the first one.  The episodes started out strong, but they started to lose a bit of steam midway through.  The first season also had this issue, but the difference is, season one began to fizzle out around episode 11 or 12.  They may want to stick to just 10 episodes in the future.  Another thing that was interesting—and was also a detriment in a way—was that there was no clear villain.  Season one lets us know from the get-go that Kilgrave was the bad guy.  The dude was just evil incarnate, and he always managed to slip away from Jessica and/or stay two steps ahead of her.  That’s what made the show so intriguing.  This time around, the antagonists—and I use that term loosely—weren’t really bad.  On one hand, it was compelling to watch antagonists that weren’t malicious, as it’s very rarely seen in a series about a superhero.  On the other hand, with no real villain, the drama fades a bit, and the show loses its magnetism.  Hence, the reason some of the luster faded sometime around episode eight.

Jessica Jones 2

The only person that can be listed as an actual villain is newcomer Pryce Cheng, but Cheng is more of an aggravating nuisance than a real threat, which brings me to my other gripe about the new season.  The new men featured in this season of Jessica Jones are hella good looking, but I didn’t care for them as characters.  Pryce is a rival PI that wants to take out the competition by any means necessary, and the other newcomer is Oscar Arocho, Jessica’s new building super and eventual love interest.  As I said before, Cheng got on my nerves, and for the first half of the season, so did Oscar, as his attitude towards Jessica is just as shitty as Pryce’s when she first meets him.  When Oscar finally acts like he has some home training and Jessica falls for him, their scenes lack any serious chemistry.  This is no criticism against actors JR Ramirez and Terry Chen; their performances were good (besides, I always loved JR Ramirez as Julio in Power.  I’m still mad he got killed off the show!).  I just could’ve done without the characters themselves.  Worst of all, Luke doesn’t make a single appearance this season.  His absence was definitely missed. 😭😭

Luke and Jessica (Alt)

Jessica Jones’s second season wasn’t all bad.  Like I said previously, I did enjoy it.  There were a lot of cool action/fight scenes, and Jessica’s sarcastic humor always had me rollin’.  There was a scene where Pryce accuses her of murder and Jessica basically tells him that she didn’t “give a dead moose’s last shit” what he thought.  Classic.  The first few episodes had me on the edge of my seat, and the scenes that give the audience more insight into Jessica’s past were handled extremely well.  Trish and Malcolm have a story arc that’s very compelling, as does Hogarth.  I didn’t completely care for the way the season ended, but it definitely showed a pivotal change in the dynamic between Jessica, Trish, and Malcolm.  I for one can’t wait to see how this development is gonna play out next season, Lord willin’.

All in all, season two of Jessica Jones wasn’t completely explosive, but it wasn’t an absolute dud, either.  It was a lot like the less expensive fireworks we used to buy in the ’80s and early ’90s; they started off strong, but then ended with a wimpy little poof instead of a big bang.  Maybe season three will be the firework that’ll even make Katy Perry stare in wonder.

Jessica Jones - Butt Whuppin (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about Jessica Jones’s second season?  Was it well worth the wait, were you disappointed, or was it just…meh?  Did you miss Luke Cage?  Did you like the new additions to the cast?  What did you think about the “bad guys”?  What did you think about the season finale?  Let me know in the comments section! 

Thanksgiving Binge Watching: ‘The Punisher’ and ‘She’s Gotta Have It’

Frank and NolaWhat’s up, y’all?  Happy very belated Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!  I hope y’all had a great holiday.  Mine was wonderful, if I do say so myself. I had a glorious five day weekend away from the aggravation of my day job, and enjoyed some great food and even better company.  Other than that, I pretty much just sat on my lazy behind and did the same thing half the country did during Thanksgiving break:  binge-watched Netflix movies and shows.  The two original shows I crammed in right before and during the holiday were The Punisher and She’s Gotta Have It.  Both series have gained a very decent amount of publicity, especially The Punisher, and they each made a very serious impact on me.  With that being said, I decided to give my two cents on each show.

The PunisherThe Punisher

I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to see The Punisher at first.  When the film was originally released, it didn’t really grab me.  I heard all the hoopla for The Punisher before the series premiere, but I figured that it’d probably be an overhyped show just like The Defenders (sorry y’all, the show was good, but not great).  However, my mom wouldn’t let me forget that the show was set to premiere on Nov. 17, and when I sat down to watch it with her, I wasn’t disappointed.

The show begins with Frank Castle completing his quest for revenge against the people that murdered his family…or so he thinks.  As the show progresses, we the viewers learn that the conspiracy behind the Castle family’s massacre is much deeper than Frank initially believed, and it all revolves around Frank’s time in the Marines.  That’s all I can really say without giving away crucial plot points.

The fact of the matter is that this show had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Truth be told, it took me from the 17th up until the start of my Thanksgiving vacation to watch all thirteen episodes, thanks to my day job, but you best believe that every day I went to work during the week leading up to the holiday, all I could think about was getting home to watch the next episode of The Punisher.  This show was well acted, action-packed, and is full of twists and turns you wouldn’t believe.  What could’ve easily been made into a strictly revenge series ends up being the Bourne trilogy on steriods.  Plus, the men in the show are pretty damn good looking (namely Frank, Billy and Curtis)!  Check it out if you haven’t already.  Also, if you haven’t seen Luke Cage, definitely give that show a shot.  That’s another Marvel show I really enjoyed.

She’s Gotta Have ItShe's Gotta Have It

The day after I finished watching all the episodes of The Punisher, She’s Gotta Have It premiered on Netflix, and I knew I had to see the pilot episode, at the very least.  I was always a fan of the original film, which I first viewed at the slightly innocent age of 12. Yes, you read that correctly.  12.  As you may have already guessed, Nola Darling’s character perplexed me.  She had three lovers that all knew about each other—which was pretty much unheard of during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s—but I never thought of Nola as a ho or a nymphomaniac.  I remember Nola stating that she wanted to have “five rusty butt boys” one day, but I couldn’t even see her settling down or being a domestic.

Fast forward 23 years since the fateful night I first watched the movie (and 31 years since the movie was released), and Ms. Nola Darling has returned with a reboot for the new millennium.  In 2017, a woman having three lovers at one time isn’t as shocking as it was circa 1986, but you have to admit, there’s still a bit of a taboo there, especially if you compare Nola having multiple men to a man having multiple women all at once.  Even when the iconic Thanksgiving scene with Nola and all her men was recreated, there’s a point in time when Greer (the narcissistic one) asks her, “Why are you acting like such a…” and Nola finishes the sentence by asking, “…a man?”

Despite Nola’s life choices being frowned upon, yet not exactly stroke inducing, the show was still very entertaining, and translates flawlessly to the 2010s (although not everyone agrees with that ).  The cinematography was gorgeous, and I loved the soundtrack.  I especially loved how Spike made sure to showcase what album the song that was played actually came from so you could possibly download the track for yourself (whether you decide to do that legally or illegally is up to you; no judgment).  On top of everything, the show was just beautiful to watch.  I love positive portrayals of my people living their lives.  Before I knew it, just checking out the pilot episode turned into me binging the entire series in a record-breaking two days.

What I really adored about She’s Gotta Have It is it delved deeper into the characters than the movie did, much like the beloved Soul Food series did over a decade earlier.  Mars was a big softie.  Jamie was flawed.  Opal was human.  Greer tried to be a loving boyfriend.  Clorinda was more than just the rejected roommate.  Nola’s parents were cool and opinionated (of course).  The only character that didn’t really change was Nola herself, which isn’t a bad thing at all.  Aside from her sexuality changing from strictly dickly to bisexual (and the fact that she kept all her lovers secret until the last episode of the season), she’s the same Nola Darling that loves life and loves people, and won’t tolerate disrespect.  Once again, this was a show that was well acted, and full of enough drama to keep you glued to the screen.  All the pretty people (Greer!) and hot sex scenes provide eye candy, and the soundtrack is hittin’.  Give this series a try.

—-Written by Nadiya

Have y’all seen The Punisher and/or She’s Gotta Have It?  If so, what did y’all think of the series?  Was The Punisher great, or was it too violent?  Was She’s Gotta Have It insightful, or did it contain way too much sexual imagery?  Are you a fan of Stan Lee or Spike Lee or both?  Who would you rather be friends with:  Frank Castle or Nola Darling? Let me know in the comments section!

 

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – The Good, the Bad, and the Things That Made Me Go “Hmmm…”

Thor Ragnarok Pic (Alt)

Hey, y’all!  Long time, no post!  I know, I’ve been away for a loooong time.  I’m not making any excuses; it was a combination of things that kept me away.  Work, other writing assignments, family, losing a loved one this past September, lack of ideas, and a lot of times, just plain laziness.  Like I said, no excuses.  I’m back now, and even though I don’t want to promise you guys that there’ll be a post waiting for you guys each week, I’ll try a little harder to write more often than I have this year.

Now let’s get down to brass tax.  As I’m sure you all know at this point, Thor:  Ragnarok was released on Nov. 3, 2017, and you best believe that I was right there in the theatre the very next day.  Considering that a ton of reviews have already been posted regarding the film, I decided to do something a little different.  I’m going to list the good things about Thor:  Ragnarok, the things I didn’t really like about the movie, and the things that I didn’t like or actually dislike, but they had me scratching my head.

***By the way, this post is full of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the film yet, you may want to wait to read this.  You’ve been warned.***

The Good:Thor - Swag (Alt)

  1. Thor was fine.  That’s always a plus.
  2. The comedy was on point, 98% of the time.  For a second, I thought the decision to make the Thor series more serious ala Guardians of the Galaxy would blow up in Marvel’s face, but they actually pulled it off.
  3. The action scenes also delivered.  Thor and Hulk’s big fight, the showdown between Hela and “The Revengers,” as Thor liked to call them, the scenes where Heimdall was kickin’ ass and takin’ names, not to mention the scenes where Hela pretty much dominated…everyone was gold.
  4. Cate Blanchett played the hell out of Hela (no alliteration intended).
  5. There was a scene where Thor was shirtless.  Well worth my $13.85.
  6. Even though Doctor Strange has been my least favorite Marvel film so far, I greatly enjoyed his scene with Thor in the film.
  7. Karl Urban and director Taika Waititi also delivered in their roles.
  8. Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba were masterful, as always.
  9. My baby Chris Hemsworth always kills as Thor.
  10. Tessa Thompson was a wonderful addition to the MCU, and as always, I love to see a person of color on the big screen.  I couldn’t help but notice that she and Thor had a fleeting connection while escaping Sakaar.
  11. Jeff Goldblum. That man is a legend.
  12. I loved the chemistry between Thor and Hulk/Bruce Banner.  Once again, I didn’t think the “buddy cop” aspect would work, but it did.
  13. Even though I always loved Erik and Darcy’s characters, I didn’t miss them in the movie.  I guess that’s just a testament to how much fun it is.
  14. Last but not least, I loved how Thor proved that he really is the god of thunder and he didn’t need Mjolnir to wield his power.

The Bad:Thor and Iron Man - GTFO (Alt)

  1. Thor and Jane broke up, apparently.  What’s even worse is that the movie handled Thor and Jane breaking up like a damn footnote.  Really?
  2. Odin dies.  Boo!  Anthony Hopkins was great, as usual, though.
  3. Thor gets all his hair cut off.  I’m sure all of y’all knew that from the trailers and TV spots, but I still didn’t like it.  My only consolation is that it didn’t take away from Thor’s character like I thought it would.
  4. Even though the comedy was on point 98% of the time, I felt like the 2% botched it when they decided to be a little too jokey, especially if the occasion was meant to be serious and they opted to tell a joke.
  5. The Warrior Three got killed off in record time, and their deaths were completely unceremonious.  They were supposed to be Thor’s best friends, and yet not a word was mentioned about them by Thor or anyone else when they were killed.
  6. Sif was MIA, and she was never even mentioned.  Where the hell is she?
  7. Thor lost his damn eye! I am SO pissed off about that!  Why did they have to ruin my beautiful baby’s face?  I swear Thor is the most disrespected one out of all the Avengers!  No one else lost limbs or eyes (not counting Bucky; he’s technically not an Avenger, and the steel arm was artificial anyway.  He can get another one)!

The Things That Made Me Go Hmmm…Thor - Confused (Alt)

  1. Okay, so in an interview, Tessa Thompson stated that Valkyrie was supposed to be bisexual in the comics and she played her that way in the movie.  I guess all those scenes must’ve been cut, because I didn’t see her flirt with any girls or guys, for that matter (she and Thor had a moment for two seconds, but that’s about as sexual as she got).  Basically, her character was badass, burnout, and an alcoholic.  Anybody can have those characteristics, regardless of sexual orientation.  Hmmm…
  2. Bruce was The Hulk for two years straight.  While he was The Hulk, he killed people in the gladiator ring.  When Hulk transformed back into Bruce Banner, he didn’t even inquire about whether or not he killed people, which was one of his many concerns in the past films.  Hmmm…
  3. Loki actually decides to be on the side of justice for a change, but near the end of the film, we notice him eyeing the Tesseract in Odin’s chamber.  Hmmm…
  4. Speaking of Odin’s chamber, Hela mentioned that the gauntlet glove in there is fake. Does that mean Thanos has the real one?  Hmmm…
  5. How exactly did Odin die? He knew his time was coming and then he just…evaporated.  Hmmm….

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about Thor:  Ragnarok?  Let me know in the comments section!