#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 18: Black Panther!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 18: Black Panther (2018)

Okay, so I’m cheating a little. We all know there is no Week 18, not after Infinity War’s release was bumped up by a week. I’m actually writing this after my third Black Panther viewing on Week 15, but hey, the timeline still works. Have you made it to the end of this long Road to Infinity War? If not, fair warning, this post is full of spoilers. So many spoilers–you know what? Stop reading this and go watch Black Panther right now, whether you’ve seen it already or not. I’ll wait.

Still with me? Good.

“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships, because they knew that death was better than bondage.”

There are so many striking moments to choose from, but this one still gives me chills. Killmonger was born from blood and deceit, the product of valuing the security of a nation over the safety of a child. His methods might have been rash and violent, but he was motivated by the loss of his father, and the loss of a future in Wakanda, a fairy tale of opportunity and prosperity in a world where he and his friends faced discrimination every single day. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to grow up like Erik Stevens – knowing Wakanda exists, and that they would rather remain in hiding than help people like him. He knows the history of Wakanda. He knows that colonization, imperialism, and slavery are the reason that Wakanda hid themselves from the world. And here he is, moments from death, and throwing the nation’s history back in the face of its ruler. In one sentence, he’s reminded T’Challa that the actions of his forefathers sentenced thousands of African slaves to death.

The problem is, whenever the possibility of revealing Wakanda to the world is addressed, everyone assumes the worst. T’Challa says that waging war is now their way. There is talk of sending warriors out to start cleaning up, or taking refugees in and upsetting a carefully cultivated peace. It’s assumed that by opening themselves up to the world, the nation will become prone to war, poverty, disease, all of the problems that come with reaching out to other countries. What’s needed is a shift in perspective, and that’s exactly what Killmonger brings to T’Challa and to Wakanda. His very existence is proof that keeping Wakanda secret has done more harm than good. I would even go so far as to say that he’s the push that T’Challa needed to understand that there are other options beyond Wakanda’s borders beyond war. Wakanda needs to be an example to the world, not to conquer it, and it took a slightly tropey, but socially and culturally relevant sins of the father plotline to help T’Challa see that.

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler

I wonder, when W’Kabi surrenders to Okoye in the final battle, and he looks around and sees his people fighting each other, he remembers T’Challa’s words from earlier in the movie: “Waging war is not our way.” Coupled with the fact that Okoye is entirely willing to kill him for the sake of her country, we see a man who let his desire for revenge and anger at T’Challa for not killing Ulyssess Klaue spiral out of control, drop his weapon and surrender. I think it’s at this exact moment, as well, that we understand what Okoye meant when she told Nakia she was loyal to the throne, and to Wakanda, and that she couldn’t run after T’Challa’s supposed death. She isn’t saying she supports Killmonger, but that she supports Wakanda. She upholds the country’s values and restores peace when necessary, even if it means sacrificing the man she loves. And speaking of Wakanda’s values, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that Wakanda is incredibly technologically advanced, and socially and economically stable, and they didn’t want or need any help from outsiders. Colonialism wouldn’t have helped Wakanda, it’s the whole reason they closed themselves off from the world in the first place. This, right here, is a perfect blend of the rise of modern technology and innovation, fused with the rich, cultural traditions of multiple tribes to create a flourishing and vibrant society.

Okoye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as my Road to Infinity War draws to a close, let’s bring it full circle and talk about the women of Marvel once again. Remember way back in weeks 1 and 2, when we watched Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk and I complained that women like Pepper Potts and Betty Ross were essentially window dressing for superheroes? Not anymore. Welcome to Wakanda, where gender inequality doesn’t exist. Where women have never had to work to dispel stereotypes, or rise above their stations, or prove that they are equal to men, because it has never occurred to Wakandans that gender might affect opportunity or performance. Women are the backbone of this movie. The royal guard, the Dora Milaje, are entirely made up of strong, disciplined, powerful women, and Okoye, their general, was stated to be the greatest warrior in Wakanda. I could talk about Okoye for days. This beautiful, strong female character with a fully fleshed out personality, and life, and have I mentioned she’s the greatest warrior in Wakanda? She’s a warrior, a general, a lover, a sister, a friend. There is no one or the other, no need to be more or less feminine. She is who she is and she is revered, respected, and loved. I will never, ever be over watching Okoye leap off the balcony at the bar in Korea, red dress flying behind her, having already ripped off her wig mid-attack. Or her satisfied expression when her spear flies clean through a car and takes it out. Or her face in the first post-credits scene, smirking behind T’Challa, when the UN asks what a poor farming nation could possibly have to offer. And she’s on an official Infinity War poster, which hopefully guarantees much more of Okoye in the very near future.

And then there’s Nakia, a spy and a war dog, able to leave Wakanda for missions such as the one she was on at the beginning of the film, an undercover investigation of the Nigerian slave trade. Technically, yes, she could be classified as a love interest for T’Challa, but that’s not her primary role, and it’s definitely not the most interesting or relevant aspect of her character. That’s the best part about all of these characters – yes, they have a relationship to T’Challa, either by blood or by allegiance, but they aren’t defined by that relationship. They’re all allowed to have agency, and fully fleshed out personalities and lives. Probably the best example of that is Shuri, princess of Wakanda and T’Challa’s sister, but more importantly considered one of the most intelligent people on earth. She’s responsible for many (make that most) of Wakanda’s technological innovations. She can fix a fractured spine like it’s nothing, create a Panther suit that fits into a necklace, and build sonic stabilizers for the safe transport of vibranium. She’s also well versed in memes (“What are thooose?”), loves puns (“I call them…sneakers”) and records videos of her big brother getting taken out by a suit (“delete that footage.”). And hey look, another female character that gets to be all of these things, and more – she’s a sister. A princess. A technological genius. All of these women are allowed to be anything they want. They’re allowed to be spies, and generals, and innovators, and queens. They’re allowed to be three-dimensional, with the freedom to think and feel and dream for themselves, and no one questions them. This, right here, is the true mark of a utopian society. People who are allowed to be people, regardless of gender, race, or any other markers that the western world uses to suppress and segregate. In answer to the UN’s inquiry in the post-credits, this is what Wakanda has to offer to the rest of the world.

Let’s cut this off before I ramble on for another 1000 words and throw in a few Random Thoughts:

 

A) “Does she speak English?” “When she wants to.”

B) Mbaku putting his people and the values of the nation above his personal desire for the throne – but still making jokes and allowing Shuri, Ramonda, and Nakia to bow before him before bringing them to T’Challa.

C) That one part on the train tracks when T’Challa grabs a sonic stabilizer with his claws and swings around it, doing a 360 before landing on his feet reminds me of this part in the first X-Men movie:

D) I had no idea that Shuri’s “What are thooooose?” comment was a meme until all of those posts popped up about Shuri the meme lord.

These two are priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Art by Ed Wainaina on Instagram.

 

E) That post-credits scene, the last post-credits scene before Infinity War, bringing Bucky back just in time! And what does Shuri mean when she says there’s more for him to learn? Are they teaching him more about Wakanda? Weaponry? Is Thanos already on his way? So many unanswered questions…

F) And of course the Wakandan insults – Okoye calling guns primitive while wielding her vibranium spear, and Shuri calling Everett “colonizer” and another white man to fix made me laugh. It’s nice to see the white males that are normally at the centre of these movies being taken down a peg.

 

There is so much more I want to discuss about this movie, but there are already a ton of articles that do it better than I ever could. And look, we made it to the end of the #RoadToInfinityWar! Are you all still with me? Are you rushing to finish all eighteen movies in the days before Infinity War hits theatres? Remember everyone, be kind and don’t post your spoilers all over the internet at least until after the weekend, and tag/label them accordingly just in case. One more time – tag me in your Road to Infinityr war posts with @marymordrakecosplay on instagram, show me your opening night cosplays, your selfies in theatre lobbies, your final Black Panther runs before the big weekend, and whatever else you get up to in these final days of the long Road To Infinity War!

Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  And I really really liked Black Panther, and I very very very much recommend Ryan Coogler’s previous film Creed, a rebirth of the Rocky franchise.  Killmonger and Valkyrie are in it as well.

And Here’s To Mary For Completing 10,000 Hours Of Marvel Movies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 17: Thor Ragnorak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 17: Thor Ragnarok (2017)

Honestly, Asgard was fine under Loki’s rule.

Like he said, Asgard was prospering, he was doing his job and everything was fine. Thor points out that there are forces rallying against Asgard and Loki seems to be doing nothing about it, but I would argue that he’s following Odin’s advice: “A wise king never seeks out war, but must always be ready for it.” Loki has a standing military guard and has been attending political and security meetings. He’s preparing, but not antagonizing, just as Odin tried to teach Thor in the very first movie with Jotunheim and the Frost Giants. And sure, Loki had a statue built of himself and a play about his heroism, but who doesn’t love a flourishing art scene? He never wanted to be king to destroy Asgard. From the way he side-eyed Thor in the first movie, it was clear that he thought he would do a better job at being king than Thor. Thor doesn’t want to be king. As Loki tells him, everyone got what they wanted – Thor gets to roam freely, Loki gets to rule something, and Asgard is thriving and peaceful. It hurts that Thor believes that there is no good left in Loki, and that their paths have diverged so far that he is irredeemable. I still maintain that Loki doesn’t betray Thor in the garage because Thor tells him it’s better if he stays behind, that he can’t ever change. But again, Loki spend at least a few years ruling Asgard while Thor was away, and he didn’t destroy it. Asgard flourished. So why would he want Hela to destroy it, and what he’s probably come to think of as his people, now? I’m not saying Loki’s not a villain, but I do appreciate this movie bringing him back to his natural state of chaotic neutral.

Anyway. I think we can all agree this is the best Thor movie, not that it really has much competition (Come on, you were all thinking it). I remember when it was filming and Taika Waititi was quoted saying that if they started taking things too seriously, he reminded them that they were making a cosmic adventure about a space Viking, and everyone was so offended. Taika Waititi doesn’t take the source material seriously, he thinks it’s all a joke. Hey, remember when Thor was dark and serious and everyone hated it? Yeah. Calm down, internet, and look at this masterpiece. The Thor vs. Hulk fight alone is gold, not only for the actual dynamics of the fight but for every single reaction to Hulk being in this place at this time, from Thor’s “He’s a friend from work!” to Loki’s panicked “I have to get off this planet.” All of the dialogue is so well written and timed, I would spend this entire post just quoting it if I could. As for Hulk, it is so good to see a bit of his personality. To see him with needs and desires and making jokes, bouncing a ball off a wall to pass the time and pushing Thor over because he’s sad. It’s interesting to see how Hulk’s look and personality have evolved over two years of being in control over Banner.

I’m still a little miffed that Hela was rewritten as a daughter of Odin instead of Loki. I mean, from a cinematic standpoint, there’s a little bit of a sins of the father arc here that works here, and besides, Loki gets blamed for enough already. Also, how could I possibly hate anything about Hela when she is this much of a badass? She’s everything I ever wanted her to be – powerful, intelligent, merciless, and steps into the role of queen with royal bearing and more than a little bit of sass. Still, when Odin told Thor he had a sister, I was definitely surprised that they took that route to tell this story. Anyway, like I said, it works. Even if it is a little bizarre and spawned memes of Thor being the adopted one because of the similarities between Hela and Loki. I mean wow, I wonder why those two are so similar?

And before I get into some Random Thoughts, let’s talk about how Valkyrie is one of the greatest warriors of Asgard, how she and her people inspired Thor when he was younger, how Thor awkwardly tries to explain that he wanted to be a Valkyrie until he found out they were women and he wasn’t, and how she is not, I repeat NOT, a love interest. She freelances her skills for cash, drinks away her sorrows, and holds her own sparring with the Hulk. She has zero tolerance for Thor’s shenanigans and she’s entirely unapologetic about who she is. She carries the weight of her sisters’ deaths on her shoulders every single day, and she wears their (her) armour to fight the woman that slaughtered them. I love that her behaviour and personality aren’t conventionally female. I love that she’s a bit of a rogue, and that her kind of character is usually a man, but this time, it’s not. I love that her very existence turns stereotypes on their head. And I love that when she and Thor end up in the ship again, chest to chest, they just walk away from each other. There’s no awkward tension, or things left unspoken, or leaning into each other only to have a kiss interrupted by a more urgent manner. Welcome to the new and improved MCU, where women can be anything they want and men like Thor grow up aspiring to be them.

The previously promised Random Thoughts:

 

A) “I have been falling for thirty minutes!”

B) Korg is twice as funny after watching What We Do In The Shadows because I just imagine Taika Waititi as a vampire under all those rocks (and did anyone else catch the reference to that movie in this one?)

C) Loki’s smirk when Thor figures out how to use the lightning without Mjolnir, Loki using his helmet as a weapon, Loki refusing to do “Get Help”, Thor constantly throwing things at Loki to make sure he’s really there … just Loki in general yes perfect.

D) Mark Ruffalo pretending to be Tony Stark because he thinks he needs a disguise.

E) Speaking of disguises, let’s talk about Thor in his Donald Blake outfit, complete with jean jacket, ponytail, and Mjolnir disguised as an umbrella.

F) “There was one time when we were children. He transformed himself into a snake, and he knows I love snakes. So I picked up the snake to admire it, and he transformed back into himself, and he was like, ‘Wah, it’s me!’ And then he stabbed me.”

 

We’re so close to Infinity War, and I’ve made it through all eighteen movies just in time (Black Panther coming soon)! How did you do? Did you watch them all? Did you skip Incredible Hulk, or Iron Man 2? Because I kind of wish I’d skipped Iron Man 2, not gonna lie. Anyway, one more blog post to go and this long #RoadToInfinityWar comes to an end. I’ll be mostly offline for the weekend, because even though #Thanosdemandsyoursilence, I guarantee there will be spoilers somewhere, and I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. But tag me in things anyway @marymordrakecosplay on instagram, I always want to see what cool stuff you guys get up to!

Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  And I kinda liked the first Thor, but I don’t miss Jane Foster.

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 16: Spiderman Homecoming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 16: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

This is another one I didn’t see in theatres, because I didn’t think I needed another Spiderman movie in my life. I was tired of Spiderman. He’s so oversaturated, from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to the endless list of Spiderman cartoons on Netflix, and the material was starting to get a little old.

But this one?

I love that this Spiderman is actually a kid. I love that he acts like a teenager, that his entire life doesn’t revolve around relationship drama, and that he desperately wants to be an Avenger but clearly isn’t ready. He’s chatty and anxious and excitable, and he needs to sort out his priorities and get his life together.

My favourite thing about this movie is that Peter wants to be an Avenger so badly and believes he is ready, but he’s still a teenager. He’s inexperienced, he talks too much, and he has a very loose concept of responsibility, to say the least. He’s everything a kid his age, with his life, should be, and that’s what makes this so good. He just moves from one disaster to the next, every choice snowballing until he’s gone from ditching the school decathlon to going, only to track the criminals he’s bugged, to being trapped in a high security warehouse, to missing the decathlon altogether and having to rescue his class from an alien tech time bomb. And after all of that, he still doesn’t see that if he hadn’t prioritized the “Stark Internship” over school and his future (which, his classmate Liz points out, is the reason she takes the decathlon seriously), none of this would have happened. He’s so preoccupied with being a superhero and becoming an Avenger that he believes he’s above going to school or going to class. He thinks he doesn’t need to be at school, because any minute now he’ll be moving upstate with the Avengers. Again, priorities. Stay in school, kids.

I love that this isn’t an origin story. We all know how Peter became Spiderman, and no one needs to watch Uncle Ben die again. I would much rather see this pseudo-coming of age story, where Peter has to learn the (very) hard way that he can’t just throw himself into being a superhero and ignore the rest of his life. I would rather see Spiderman panicking because he’s just realized he’s never been as high as he is right now on the Washington monument, or because he’s got to hold a ferry together and the fact that he does is probably his fault, or because he’s buried alive and he’s started to realize that he just might be in over his head. The thing is, Peter has such a big heart. He really wants to help people. Not because it’ll help his conscience, or make him feel better about himself, like Tony Stark, but because it’s the right thing to do, like Cap, or Clint. I wish that Civil War had been more like the comics, if only so that we could see Peter switching from Team Iron Man to Team Cap, because he is far more suited to that kind of team ethos.

“I think with a little more mentoring, you’d be a real asset to the team.” Yes Tony, he would be, as long as he’s mentored by someone other than you. I am so glad that by the end of this movie, Peter has figured out that he need to stay in school, he needs to be with his friends and his aunt, and he needs to balance his ordinary life with his life as Spiderman. Peter deserves so much better than Tony Stark. That’s right, I said it. Someone had to. And by the way, I might actually be a little excited for the next Spiderman movie? No, not Venom, I could care less. I just want to see more Tom Holland as Peter, more of Zendaya as MJ because although I am once again grateful for the lack of love triangle, I greatly enjoyed her character and she needed some more non-romance related screen time.

Let’s grab a few Random Thoughts and close out this train of thought before it entirely derails:

 

A) I need an entire movie that’s just Peter Parker’s video diary.

B) If there was a Captain America fitness challenge in my school, I might have enjoyed gym class a little more.

C) I entirely agree with the internet that we need Peter and Shuri hangouts in the near future.

D) Thanks for an actual diverse supporting cast, and for some characters that aren’t in literally every on screen incarnation of Spiderman, and for teenagers that look and act like teenagers.

E) Tony needs to stop being such a judgmental jerk. Iron Man 2 was a far bigger trainwreck than Peter could ever accomplish.

 

Man, I really feel like getting on Netflix and watching some Ultimate Spiderman now, because that’s the version that Tom Holland most reminds me of. You know the drill – tag me on instagram @marymordrakecosplay if you’re doing something cool for #RoadToInfinityWar! I just bought my ticket today – do you have yours yet?

Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  I do miss Uncle Ben and wish he was mentioned in the movie.  But it would be even better if Uncle Ben came back from the dead and kicked Iron Man’s butt.

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 15: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 15: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

 I will never, ever get tired of watching these opening credits, Groot is adorable and I love the running joke of him freezing when Drax catches him dancing. The only thing I listen to at work more than Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is Awesome Mix Vol. 2. I love movies where the soundtrack is integrated into specific scenes and plot points – Mister Blue Sky is Groot’s dancing at the beginning, Southern Nights is Rocket’s ambush track, Brandy is Ego and Meredith Quill’s song, and so on. I think Suicide Squad tried to capture this feel when it introduced various characters with different themes, but the transitions were awkward and almost forced.

Have I mentioned lately how much I want a Bucky/Rocket team-up in Infinity War? Rocket is so good at what he does, and he and Bucky have a lot in common. And that aforementioned ambush scene contains one of my favourite tropes, where an entire group of trained men panics and shoots blindly at the shadows, only to be taken out be a lone, shadowy figure. There’s another thing you see in the DC Universe, mostly with Batman, of course, and especially in the Arkham video game series. I’m sensing an unintended theme here, with all these Marvel/DC comparisons. Anyway, I’m a sucker for this trope, and it was well used here to remind us that, despite (or maybe because of) Rocket’s post-traumatic coping mechanisms, he’s an actual killing machine that cares about protecting his home and his best friend.

There is a lot of character development crammed into this movie. This is an entire team of violent, mentally and emotionally damaged individuals, and not everything is resolved, but at least some of it is addressed before Infinity War and GotG Vol. 3. Rocket has to face the fact that he can’t keep pushing everyone away from him by being a jerk. Drax has a moment where he stops laughing, slows down, and remembers his daughter. The weight of his despair is channelled through Mantis, a character I could care less about, but I can see how her power set makes her suited to the themes in the film. Meanwhile, Gamora eventually attempts to resolve what’s between herself and her sister, and of course there’s the main plot line of Peter finally meeting his biological father. I’ve seen so many posts about how it’s contradictory to have Gamora and Nebula at odds because of Thanos’ abuse, but Peter resolves things with Yondu despite Yondu’s own abusive tendencies, like threatening to eat Peter if he didn’t behave or forcing him to become a thief and repeatedly putting him in dangerous situations. Not to mention the previous movie, where Quill got out from under Yondu’s thumb and found a real family in the Guardians. I guess for me, I appreciate that Yondu got a redeeming arc, but finding out that he kept Quill all that time to keep him from Ego doesn’t excuse the way that Yondu treated him.

I thought that Groot dancing in the opening, ignoring everything blowing up around him was the most relatable moment in this movie, but when Peter finds out he can shape the universe and says “I’m gonna make some weird shit”, I can’t help thinking, that’s it, that’s me, I would do that. I love that his perspective and personality doesn’t suddenly change with this knowledge. I love that he’s still this kid that grew up in space and is obsessed with the 80s because that’s the last time he saw Earth. I love that he doesn’t immediately think of this as a grave responsibility, but rather as another great adventure. Oh, but here’s a trope that drives me mental. Why are humans always the special ones? In an entire universe, only a human woman was good enough for the love of a Celestial, and to channel his energy into a child? Why do movies and TV shows about space always feel the need to make humans feel significant like this? I get enough of that from Doctor Who, thanks. (Side note: Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctor Who. Like, a lot, but we can all agree that it’s one of the best examples of this trope).

A few more Random Thoughts while I watch Peter figure out how to control his Celestial power (“You shouldn’t have killed my mom and squished my Walkman!”):

 

A) I could really do without all the toilet humour in this movie – I don’t know if it was to lighten the subject matter for the kids watching but its unnecessary.

B) Rocket not so secretly loves Quill’s music – not just Southern Nights, but he requests it during the breakout on the Ravagers’ ship.

C) “One minute you think someone has a weird shaped head and the next you realize it’s just because they’re wearing a hat.” “That’s why you don’t like hats?”

D) Gratuitous shirtless Chris Pratt – file that one under Captain America’s arms, the multiple shirtless Thor scenes, and, the most infamous of them all, that shirtless Killmonger scene that broke a teenage girl’s braces**

 

E) Why do do so many of the Marvel men have mommy issues? Tony, Magneto, Loki, and now Quill…I’m sensing a trend here.

F) So. Many. Post-credit scenes. And teenage Groot is my favourite.

 

We’re almost there, three more to go! I don’t think Black Panther will make it onto DVD in time but lucky for me, our fabulous host Scoop has invited me to go and see it in theatres again, so I’ll be doing a post-theatre viewing blog afterwards… it’s a little out of order, but Spider-Man, Thor, and Black Panther are all post-Civil War so it doesn’t make a big difference in terms of continuity. And you know the drilll, tag @marymordrakecosplay and @RoadToInfinityWar on Instagram and show me what you’re doing to get ready for Infinity War!

 Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  The GOTG I read was the nineties comic with the original team, based in the future.  That kinda makes sense.

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 14: Doctor Strange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 14: Doctor Strange (2016)

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore Mads Mikkelsen.

I have an unhealthy obsession with Hannibal, I collect his foreign and English movies, and I even wrote a post here about how I spent a weekend at Fan Expo meeting him multiple times. So when I found out he was coming to the MCU, you can bet I was counting the days until Doctor Strange came out. You can also bet I was well on my way to commissioning a cosplay of Mads’ character months before the movie came out. Oddly, Kaecilius is the first MCU cosplay I’ve done, because as you saw on my Age of Ultron post, I will always choose X-Men over Avengers in any format. But that’s an argument for another day. What I meant to say here is that first of all, any movie that opens with Mads Mikkelsen fighting Tilda Swinton instantly has my interest.

Just when I thought no one could be as arrogant as Tony Stark, Stephen Strange showed up to prove me wrong. The difference between these two though, is that Stephen wants to fix himself. He wants to get better. He wants to be better. Not as a person, clearly, but as a surgeon, because he defines himself entirely by his worth in his profession. It’s funny, you’d think that this journey into the mystic arts and self discovery would make Stephen a little more humble, but it really doesn’t. He’s still arrogant, he’s just less of a jerk about it. As if to emphasize Stephen’s mindset, The Ancient One, when told by Stephen that they are insignificant specks in the universe, asks if he really thinks so little of himself. It’s all a matter of perspective – as a human, he believes he is worthless. It is his legacy, his work, that matters above all else.

I know that all of these Marvel movies follow a formula, especially the origin stories, and that Doctor Strange is not an exception. Still, this one feels fresh. I mentioned last post that I could use a break from Iron Man, and from the Avengers, and I guess Marvel knew that we were due for something different. I really hope that Wanda gets a chance to meet and work with Doctor Strange, and view her powers from a different perspective as well, because the science and technology of the Avengers universe is getting to be a little stifling. I want more of the unexplained. I want magic, and mystic arts, and journeys into mystery. All of these post-Civil War movies start to become a little more daring, a little more experimental, and I love the changes that are coming. In a way, I’m glad that all of the initial MCU contracts are running out, because I would love a post-Infinity War Avengers team of Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Vision.

I wish that a little bit of Kaecilius’ backstory had made it into the movie. He’s so adamant about the insult of death and his desire for eternal life, and we’re led to believe that he’s just some arrogant Dormammu fanatic that lusts after immortality. Mordo alludes to Kaecilius’ arrival at Kamar Taj, how he had lost everything when he arrived on their doorstep. What he doesn’t tell you is that the reason Kaecilius defected is because the Ancient One would not help him to bring his wife and son back from the dead. He seeks eternal life not for himself, but to find a way to piece his family back together. When he talks about a world beyond time, and beyond death, he means one where his wife cannot be taken from him by terminal illness. All of this can be found both on the MCU wiki and the Doctor Strange movie prelude graphic novel, by the way, complete with flashbacks to Kaecilius’ life in Copenhagen and an appearance from the Staff of One and Tina Minoru. And speaking of things I want in the MCU, this calls for a Runaways tie-in, or at least a reference to Tina and Nico Minoru in another Doctor Strange movie.

Usually in stories like these, the villain is the one to break the rules, while the hero follows a certain code of morals, values, power regulation, etcetera, in order to save the day. This is true for Kaecilius, who wants to use the power of Dormammu to bend space and time to his will, but Doctor Strange is entirely willing to do the same if it means saving the earth. This is where his arrogance comes in handy – he doesn’t think the rules need to apply to him, and he’s very much an “ends justify the means” kind of person. We saw this earlier, too, when he would pick and choose the cases that would get him the highest recognition and income, because who cares who gets saved as long as the result it one that benefits him. Of course, by the time Strange faces Dormammu, his motivations are entirely different, but the reasoning is still there. But as a result of Strange’s atypically heroic actions, we get a villain in Mordo that is hellbent on maintaining the natural order. He thinks he’s doing what’s right, the only one following the true path, while sorcerers like Strange and the Ancient One bend the laws of reality to suit themselves. Hopefully we’ll get another Doctor Strange movie after Infinity War to continue exploring these themes.

This is getting long and the movie is over so let’s close out with a few more Random Thoughts:

 

A) The misdirection when Stephen meets the Ancient one reminds me of Bruce meeting Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins.

B) I feel like the subatomic realm in Ant-Man was almost like a test run for the Ancient One showing Stephen the multiverse.

C) “Mister Doctor.” “It’s…Strange.” “Maybe. Who am I to judge?”

 

 D) The Cloak of Levitation is the sassiest of characters and I wish it was mine.

E) There’s a Ragnarok teaser at the end and it’s even funnier now that I know Loki’s literally been falling through space the entire time Doctor Strange and Thor are talking.

 

 You know the drill – tag me with @marymordrakecosplay and #RoadToInfinityWar if you want to show me stuff, and let me know if you’re keeping up! Now it’s time for me to hunt down a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for next week….

 Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  I think I have read maybe ten Doctor Strange comics in my life.  But according to the internet, that makes me an expert.

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 13: Captain America Civil War!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

Week 13:  Captain America Civil War  (2016)

Honestly, Cap is right.

It’s not Wanda’s fault. If it wasn’t her, it would have been something else, because there’s always something else with the Avengers. Or, I guess to be more accurate, there’s always something else with Tony Stark. He’s the only one of the Avengers that creates his own villains and yeah, maybe Wanda had a hand in one of them with Ultron, but with the way Tony was headed about world security and protection, Ultron probably would have happened at some point anyway. Even Vision points out that, since Tony introduced himself as Iron Man, there has been a sharp increase in powered beings and related cataclysmic events, and that there is a causality. I’m not saying all of it is Tony’s fault, but it’s a little more than 12 percent, let’s be real.

People always act like Cap chose Bucky over the Avengers and the Accords, but he’d already decided not to sign the Accords before the explosion in Vienna. I would argue that Cap’s decision was made at Peggy’s funeral, when Sharon quoted Peggy about standing firm for what you believe in, even when the world is telling you to move. If it hadn’t been Bucky, it would have been something else. There are things that happen in this movie, like Bucky being framed, or the incident in Nigeria, that contribute to larger issues, but they aren’t the reason for them. Captain America would have been a wanted criminal without Bucky, and the Sokovia Accords were drawn up long before Nigeria. When Cap, Sam, T’Challa, and Bucky are taken in by the CIA, Natasha says, “For the record, this is what making things worse looks like.” She’s not accusing him of leaving the Avengers, or choosing his path over theirs. He’s already done that. So it would be really nice if the internet would stop saying Bucky was more important to Cap than the Avengers. Captain America would never have signed the Accords, especially since the real tipping point when Tony asked him to sign was finding out that Wanda was being interned at the Avengers compound for “protection”.

This is the first time we get to see Black Panther and Spiderman, and Ant-Man makes his second appearance. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank god we didn’t get another origin story. I don’t need to watch Uncle Ben die for the umpteenth time, or Peter moon over Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy while he tries to figure out how to juggle his secret with the girl that he likes. There have been so many movies, and so many cartoons (and I mean SO many), and I’m so glad that Marvel understands that another Spiderman origin rehash is a massive waste of time. Other things I appreciate include T’Challa’s one track mind – he has absolutely no interest in the Sokovia Accords, or Tony’s issues, or any of the political nonsense that’s happening right now. He just wants to avenge his father (ha) and kill the Winter Soldier. I’m not sure whether he thinks he’s above the Accords because he was never an Avenger, or if he signed them before Tony enlisted him to fight Cap’s team at the airport, but his first loyalty is to his father and to his people. It certainly doesn’t help that the man who he believes murdered his father, and the woman responsible for the deaths of eleven Wakandans are on the same team. And yet, T’Challa is the first to understand that singleminded vengeance is not the way. He cannot let it consume him; he needs to be better than people like Zemo and Tony Stark, especially if he is going to become a ruler of a nation. To paraphrase Charles Xavier, he has it in him to be the better man.

A few more Random Thoughts that I jotted down in between paragraphs:

 

A) When Natasha tells Bucky, “You could at least recognize me.”

 

B) That shot of Steve holding the helicopter, you know the one.

 

C) “Can you move your seat up?” “No.”

 

D) All I want from this movie and future movies is a proper Vision/Wanda relationship because I’m in love with this old school Avengers vibe and they’re adorable (you know, until Vision tries to hold her captive in the compound).

 

E) “I could do this all day.”

 

F) What is Wanda’s accent doing in this movie? Either have one or don’t because it is still incredibly distracting.

 

G) And by the way Ross, no one “misplaced” the Hulk and Thor. They’re literally off-planet, so calm down.

 

Does anyone else really want to go watch Black Panther again now? Is anyone else really glad that the next movie has literally none of the Avengers in it? Because thirteen movies in, I would love a break from Tony Stark and his pile of issues. As always, tag me @marymordrakecosplay on instagram and let me know how far you are on your #RoadToInfinityWar. I’ll be cramming Doctor Strange in today, and possibly Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this week once I get my hands on a copy!

Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  Also, I miss Uncle Ben.  He is my favourite dead character who stayed dead.  And of course Cap is right!!!!!

 

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#RoadtoInfinityWar Week 12: Ant-Man!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Guest Post by the Dynamic Mary Mordrake Cosplay.  She has seen the Marvel Movies quite a few times, and is rewatching them all again because of something coming up called Avengers Infinity War!  And SPOILERS for any Marvel Movie you have not seen!!!

 

Week 12: Ant-Man (2015)

I procrastinated this one for a very long time.

I ended up finally watching it on Netflix because it was a few weeks before Civil War and I had to catch up. I was still bitter that Hank Pym didn’t create Ultron, and I had little to no interest in Scott Lang as a character. I also did not expect this to be a heist movie, or, for that matter, another formulaic Marvel origin story. But here’s Hank Pym with a pre-established backstory, and Scott Lang with his heist buddies and his desire to be a proper father to a very young and adorable Cassie Lang. And by the way, I really hope that having Cassie around opens up the possibility of a Young Avengers movie Post-Infinity War. The original team, on the big screen, or at least on TV, and I could be overreaching but a crossover with the Runaways would just be the icing on the cake.

Back to Ant-Man. Darren Cross reminds me a lot of Obadiah Stane. They have similar motivations, both wanting to weaponize and sell the technologies used to create the Ant-Man suit, and Iron Man, respectively. Hank even references the Iron Man suit when explaining his own suit and Pym particles to Scott. Plus, he’s bald. Why is it always the villains that are bald (barring Charles Xavier, of course)? Darren Cross, Obadiah Stane, Lex Luthor, Victor Zsasz, the list goes on. Maybe if we get that Young Avengers movie, I’ll finally get a bald superhero in Eli Bradley.

More tangents. So many tangents. Let’s talk about Hope Van Dyne, because I love to talk about the ladies. I get that Hank is emotionally and mentally scarred from losing Janet, and I get that he’s always been terrible at emotions (just look at how oblivious he was with Janet all the time in the comics). I get that he think he’s protecting Hope by forbidding her to go out in the field, and that Hank finally revealing the circumstances of Janet’s death/disappearance, as well as Hope getting the Wasp suit at he end is meant to be some kind of relationship development between father and daughter. But it still drives me crazy being a protective father is meant to be an excuse for Hank’s behaviour towards her. Yes, I can see that he doesn’t want to lose her, that he wanted someone expendable to complete the mission, but I also see someone who doesn’t trust his daughter, and maybe never fully trusted his wife. I see a woman, who grew up with an emotionally absent father learning martial arts, acting as board member of Pym Tech in her father’s place, and acting as an integral part of Hank’s operation. Pym’s choosing to ignore her capabilities and qualifications in favour of projecting his grief over Janet onto Hope communicates a lack of trust and respect, and it might have been in character from someone like Pym but it still makes me cringe.

It’s 1am as I write this, so I’m going to stop here and add a few Random Thoughts before bed:

 

 A) I can’t be the only one who was excited to see David Dastmalchian playing one of Scott’s heist team (Don’t recognize the name? He played Thomas Schiff in The Dark Knight, and Dwight Pollard in Gotham!)

 

 B) Hey look, an Avengers cameo that isn’t Tony Stark! Loving the extra Falcon screen time and visit to the brand new Avengers compound.

 

 C) The sound effect for Scott shrinking sounds very similar to the sound of Quicksilver running.

D) Why did Antony have to die? That was depressing and unnecessary.

E) Luis’ storytelling reminds me of Drunk History and I love it.

F) And by the way, the way this film plays with size and perspective is fantastic and I love that they went all in on it. I can’t wait to see more of these dynamic fight scenes in the sequel this summer!

 

As always, tag me in your #RoadToInfinityWar posts @marymordrakecosplay on instagram, and hey, I also have a twitter @magnetictrifles that I never use, but tag me anyway! Are you keeping up? Did you fall behind like me? Next up is Captain America: Civil War!

Mary Mordrake

Mary is a walking talking living encyclopedia of X-Men and Batman, an avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion and Batcave since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout.  And Quicksilver is her Patronus.  Oh, she may have watched a Marvel Movie or two along the way as well.  You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and instagram Mary Mordrake Cosplay and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works .  Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.

Scoop here: When I first met Mary years ago, I found out she is a X-Men and Batman fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men and Batman fanatic of colossal degree who has read EVERY FREAKING SINGLE X-MEN AND BATMAN COMIC FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS.  I really really really wish Edgar Wright had directed Ant-Man!

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