Ladies In Space: A Bunch of Space Opera Books Written by Non-Men* (Part 1)

Featured Illustration Credit: Dave Malan www.davemalan.com

Since I started documenting what I was reading, I learned that my literary jam is non-men writing space opera. Here is part 1 of ??? of all the space opera books written by non-men that I've read.

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Travelogue: Viroqua

My true calling as a traveler is through road trips and exploring small towns. Here are the details of my trip to Viroqua, Wisconsin over Memorial Day 2019.

Doctor Strange is Not the Endearing Asshole You’re Looking For

There is a trope that I love, and it involves that dorky, intellectual who no one believes in that has to overcome every obstacle in order to be The Best or The King or Whatever Title The Prologue Laid Out. Throughout his journey, there is only one person who believes in him. Either his mentor, who inevitably dies, or himself after the mentor's death and a couple hard lessons. You see this trope everywhere because I just described the protagonist for The Hero's Journey. Doctor Strange the movie wants to apply this trope to Dr. Stephen Strange, the character, but misses the mark in a couple ways.

Captain America: Civil War Doesn’t Question Its Title Character’s Morality As It Should

In the previous installments of Captain America, Steve Roger's (Chris Evans) morality was never questioned even though he was defying orders (especially if he was defying orders). He indisputably did the right thing by rescuing Hydra POWs, one of which was his best and closest friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). He also did the right thing by taking down SHIELD and Hydra in one fell swoop. Here, he is the crux in the split of The Avengers, not because he rejects the Sokovia Accords, but because he wants to protect Bucky from being framed. It is perhaps the first time Steve's morality is called into question. And it should have been done better.

MCU Rewatch: Phase 2 Retrospective

Welcome to my MCU Rewatch, where I write an analysis of the MCU movies in the order of theatrical release. In this installment, I recap the major events of the movies known as Phase 2 and the things we should be keeping track of.

Ant-Man’s Shifts Priorities From World-Saving to Family

This is just one reason why Ant-Man differs from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Another is the low-stakes presented throughout the film. Sure, the Pym Particles falling into the hands of Hydra is something no one wants, but this movie is ultimately about two fathers wanting to do right by their daughters. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron Feels Out of Sync with the Rest of the MCU

You've probably heard it before and I'll say it again, the idea of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an unprecedented feat of filmmaking that I can only assume requires a lot of organization, a lot of discussion of what is canon and what is not, and clearly defined goals for each and every movie that comes out of the Marvel/Disney machine. The directors for these films work closely with the producers to keep the movie in line with not just the Marvel overlords but also the characterizations of each superhero that appears on screen.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a Breath of Fresh Air (in Space!)

The real story to follow is that of the Infinity Stones. So far, we've encountered a grand total of three: the space stone (Captain America: The First Avenger), the mind stone (The Avengers), and the reality stone (Thor: The Dark World). Guardians of the Galaxy introduces the fourth stone, the power stone. And it does it by also introducing a team of bumbling outlaws trying (and only sometimes failing) to do the right thing. After more than ten movies about people on the right side of the law, we get to follow people on the other side.

The Marvel Dream Team Forms in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Welcome to my MCU Rewatch, where I write an analysis of the MCU movies in the order of theatrical release. In this installment, I talk about nothing in particular. This film is perfect and nothing about it should ever change.  Release Date: 4 April 2014 Distributor: Disney/Marvel Director: Anthony and Joe Russo This is the… Continue reading The Marvel Dream Team Forms in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Selections from the 2019 Wisconsin Film Festival

The Wisconsin Film Festival has been an annual event in the city of Madison, Wisconsin for over 20 years. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the festival and the first year I volunteered with it for free movie tickets. These are the movies I saw and, briefly, my thoughts about them.

Thor: The Dark World Doesn’t Realize the Real Strength of the Thor Movies

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movies belonging to Thor (Chris Hemsworth) seem to be the most culturally underrated. This is probably because no one seems to realize the strength of the Thor movies lies not in the fantasy genre from which it takes its cues, but the comedic elements littered throughout. Unfortunately, we don't see the Thor movies find their true calling as a comedy with fantasy elements until Thor: Ragnarok. Until then, we have Thor: The Dark World.  Off all the MCU movies to suffer from sequel syndrome, the worst cases are Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron. I'll talk about Age of Ultron in a later essay. As for Thor: The Dark World, I have two major complaints in addition to my earlier statement that the Thor movies work better as comedies. Here they are in detail.

Iron Man 3 Has to Lose Everything in Order to Gain Everything

When things are overwhelming and you can no longer function, the thing to do is redefine yourself by taking away everything that makes up who you are. The example off the top of my head is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. This redefinition of the self is the basis of Tony Stark’s character development in Iron Man 3. Unlike Cheryl Strayed in her titular memoir, Tony's redefinition is not self-imposed. For Tony (Robert Downey Jr.), the things that make up Iron Man/Tony Stark are two-fold: the Iron suits and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrov). It goes against my principles to liken Pepper Potts, a human, to an item that defines a man, but the movie does it quite often. I’ll get to this later in this essay. For now, let’s focus on what it means to Tony that these things are taken away from him.

MCU Rewatch: Phase 1 Retrospective

Welcome to my MCU Rewatch, where I write an analysis of the MCU movies in the order of theatrical release. In this installment, I recap the major events of the movies known as Phase 1 and recap the things we should be keeping track of. Before we really begin, I had every intention of finishing… Continue reading MCU Rewatch: Phase 1 Retrospective

Notable Books I’ve Read in 2018

According to my notebook, I've read about 40 books in 2018, not including the ones I started and dropped. Here are some of my favorites from the year.

Everything Finally Comes Together in The Avengers

Welcome to my MCU Rewatch, where I write an analysis of the MCU movies in the order of theatrical release. In this installment, I talk about how The Avengers focuses on the characters' relationships to each other to mask the cookie-cutter plot. 

Breaking Down the Goodness of Captain America: The First Avenger

We must first ask ourselves: What makes Captain America good? According to me, it's because Captain America: The First Avenger is a good-ole war story with a heavy dieselpunk aesthetic and a superhero twist. It's got adventure, romance, the feel of a pulp novel, and a fantastic cast.

These Brooklyn Nine-Nine Cold Opens Are Here To Brighten Up Your Bad Day

So I work at an e-commerce website and for the holiday season I was asked to help out with customer service. Y'all, my brain was mush every time I had to speak to more than five people in less than thirty minutes. There was no way I could keep track of all my tasks happening… Continue reading These Brooklyn Nine-Nine Cold Opens Are Here To Brighten Up Your Bad Day

An Alternate Title for Thor is ‘The Odinson Sibling Saga: Part 1’

Welcome to my MCU Rewatch, where I write an analysis of the MCU movies in the order of theatrical release. In this installment, I talk about the way Jane feels after a night with her beau: Thor. 

Iron Man 2 Suffers from Sequel Syndrome by Not Developing Tony Stark’s Character

For two movies, there have only been the barest hints of a larger universe within the MCU films, easter eggs if you will, mostly in the special scenes after the credits that Marvel made standard after The Incredible Hulk, where there is no end credit scene. (Or if there is, it was moved to the front of the credits for the DVD version I saw). That comes to an end in Iron Man 2.